The Memphis Grizzlies return home on Thursday night in desperate need of a win, down 0-2 to the Los Angeles Clippers in their first- round Western Conference playoff matchup.
The Grizzlies dropped a heart-breaker Monday night when Chris Paul flipped in a layup with 0.1 seconds left on the clock. That gave the Clips a 93-91 victory and command of the series.
"It's funny because the games can always go one of two ways," Paul said. "If I don't make that shot and they make a shot, then everybody's saying we're not playing well."
Paul is right, but the fact is, the Clippers are up 2-0 in this rematch from last season's first-round battle that saw L.A. win a critical Game 7 on the road.
Paul led the way for Los Angeles in Game 2 with 24 points, followed by Blake Griffin's 21. Jamal Crawford was the only other Clipper in double figures with 15.
Now, the series shifts to Memphis, where the Grizzlies went 32-9 during the regular season.
"Energy's a big deal, especially on the road," Paul said. "Their team is probably going to play a little more confident at home and we've got to know that. We took care of our court and we want to go down there and win Game 3."
Memphis should get a lot of energy from center Marc Gasol, who will be presented his Defensive Player of the Year award before the game.
"On behalf of my teammates and our coaching staff, I am grateful to be named the Defensive Player of the Year," Gasol said. "We had a great season, especially on the defensive end, and that is due to the hard work of everyone involved."
The Grizzlies led the NBA in opponents' scoring and finished third in opponents' field-goal percentage.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies on Monday with 28 points and nine assists. Gasol chipped in 17, followed by 16 from Tony Allen, who also had 10 rebounds, and Zach Randolph, who scored 13.
Monday's loss was crushing, no doubt, but the Grizzlies are made up of tough veterans who can shake of the setback quickly. They'll need to if they want to get back into this series.
"We thought we played as good as we could but they made the play at the end," Conley said.
That succinctly summed it up.
The Clippers won both matchups in Memphis this season, including a critical one on Apr. 13 that went a long way to securing home-court advantage in this series.
Game 4 is scheduled for Saturday evening in Memphis.