The Los Angeles Clippers are 0 for 2 in close-out games, and now their play-off future comes down to a decisive Game 7.
Win and the franchise can savour a landmark series victory. Lose and the Clippers will face the same derision that has dogged them for years.
"It's do or die now," Blake Griffin said.
The Clippers put themselves in this must-win situation by blowing an eight-point fourth-quarter lead in a 90-88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.
"We didn't want to go back to Memphis, not 'til sometime next season," Chris Paul said.
That is where Game 7 is today.
"We can't hold nothing back," Paul said.
Paul scored 11 points playing with a strained right hip flexor, but the Grizzlies' Zac Randolph had little sympathy .
"I didn't know he was hurt," Randolph said. "Everybody's hurting. My knee is hurting. I ain't looking for no excuse. You got to put that in the back and keep playing."
The Clippers are seeking just the third play-off series win in franchise history.
"It's uncharted territory for us as a team," Vinny Del Negro, the coach, said. "We got to stay together, battle through it and give our best effort of the season."
Only eight teams in NBA history have come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a seven-game series. The top-seeded San Antonio await the winner in the conference semi-finals.
"All of this means nothing because it's a one-game series," Lionel Hollins, the Memphis coach, said. "Everyone has a chance to win."
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