The Los Angeles Clippers refused to let a third chance to knock the Grizzlies out of the playoffs slip away.
Kenyon Martin scored seven of his 11 points in the fourth quarter, and the Clippers advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with an 82-72 win over the Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday in Memphis, Tenn.
"That's why it's seven games," Martin said. "If you don't do it before, you get another chance. So they did what they had to do, they came and stole home court back on our floor. We had a chance to close it out. We knew we let it go, an opportunity get away."
The Clippers blew an eight-point lead in the fourth quarter Friday night. So Martin huddled the Clippers together at the start of the fourth quarter Sunday, and the veteran led the bench in outscoring the Grizzlies, 25-16. Chris Paul had the only bucket by a starter in the final 12 minutes, and the Clippers' bench outscored the Memphis reserves, 41-11, overall.
"Our bench was our MVP," Clippers guard and ex-Villanova star Randy Foye said. "They realized what they had to do. We had a lot of guys hurt, so we just continued to grind."
LeBron James got his trophy, and then he and Dwyane Wade made sure the Miami Heat got a win in Game 1.
James scored 32 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in his first game as a three-time MVP, Wade finished with 29 despite struggling from the floor, and the Heat beat the Indiana Pacers, 95-86, to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Sunday in Miami.
Chris Bosh scored 13 points for Miami, but left late in the first half with a lower abdominal injury and did not return, with the Heat saying he was scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the problem. The Heat outscored Indiana, 25-16, in the fourth, with Wade and James combining for 22 of those points.
"It's a battle and we know, regardless of being at home, being away, who we're playing, what round, it's tough to win in the playoffs and you have to fight for every single possession," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And that's what it was."