The scene shifts to Southern California on Saturday when the Memphis Grizzlies square off with the Los Angeles Clippers in the pivotal Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinals set.
The Clippers, who were a solid 24-9 as the host at Staples Center during the regular season, will be playing their first postseason game in LA since 2006 with a chance to take a 2-1 series lead.
A historic comeback in Game 1 of the set by the Clippers was tempered a bit on Wednesday when Rudy Gay led six players in double figures with 21 points and Memphis kept LA at arm's length down the stretch, claiming a 105-98 Game 2 victory to even the best-of-seven series.
O.J. Mayo scored 20 points off the bench, Mike Conley posted 19 points and six assists and Zach Randolph added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Tony Allen chipped in with 10 points, Marreese Speights donated 11 points and five boards and Marc Gasol scored eight points with seven rebounds in the Game 2 win.
The Grizz, who entered the playoffs with an 11-game home winning streak and finished 26-7 in Memphis during the regular season, appeared on their way to a Game 1 rout before a stunning collapse that gave the visitors the improbable comeback from a 27-point deficit.
There was no such theater on Wednesday, as Memphis answered every call, holding a lead no smaller than four in the final quarter. Chris Paul's four- point play brought the Clippers within 83-79, but Memphis answered with six straight to create some breathing room.
"We got punched in the mouth in the first game and we came back tonight and we withstood took some blows...Fortunately we were able to get a win," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said.
Paul and Blake Griffin accounted for a large chunk of the Clippers' offense in Game 2, scoring 29 and 22 points respectively. Paul also dished out six assists and picked up five steals, while Griffin grabbed nine rebounds in the loss.
Mo Williams and Nick Young each scored 11 points in the loss.
"We need some more consistent scoring from more guys besides our two guys (Paul and Griffin)," Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro said.
On the injury front for LA, forward Caron Butler, who broke his left hand in Game 1, was able to practice Friday on a limited basis while wearing a brace. Del Negro indicated that the team received a positive report from a hand specialist and wouldn't rule Butler out of Game 3.
"Caron is a tough guy, he's a battler, he wants to be out there," Del Negro said. "But we also want to be smart about it."
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, are relatively healthy and focusing on the change of venue.
"There is definitely no difference in preparation," Hollins said of going on the road. "I just think those guys are at home and we're in a hotel. Their routines are normal and ours are a little bit different because we are in a hotel."
Memphis lost two of three meetings against the Clippers in the regular season. These two teams have never met in the postseason before.
Game 4 of the best-of-seven series is set for Monday in LA.