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NBA Playoffs: Can Memphis keep its season alive?

Blake Griffin, lKenyon Martin

Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, left, gets a hug form Kenyon Martin after his fifth foul during the second half of a NBA first-round playoff basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles, Monday, May 7, 2012. The Clippers won 101-97 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)


Through the first four games of the Grizzlies-Clippers series, Memphis has outscored the Clippers by one point. However, thanks to two one-point losses and an overtime loss in game 4, they find themselves in a 3-1 hole and on the brink of elimination coming into tonight’s game.

Memphis has shown they have what it takes to beat the Clippers -- they just haven’t been able to execute for the full 48 minutes of a game, or stop Chris Paul when it matters most. Memphis should still have a huge advantage on their home floor, and if they can manage to execute in front of their fans tonight, they will be just one road win away from getting a game 7 in Memphis. That’s a lot easier said than done, but this series has been a whole lot closer than it appears at first glance.

Memphis’ defense has given the Clippers fits, they’ve been able to force the Clippers to commit turnovers while limiting their own, and they’ve been able to control the glass for extended stretches of this series. A few key bounces haven’t gone their way, and Chris Paul has shown the value of having the best player on the floor in a 7-game series, but Memphis clearly has the ability to make the game physical, get a convincing win, and get back into this series. If they believe in their talent and their system, they can do it. If they catch themselves playing the “what if” game after three heartbreaking defeats and come out flat, their season will almost certainly end tonight. We’ll see what happens.