NBA Playoffs 2011: 7 Reasons to Believe in Memphis Grizzlies Beyond Game 7

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NBA Playoffs 2011: 7 Reasons to Believe in Memphis Grizzlies Beyond Game 7
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

First, they razed the Alamo. In a matter of hours, Kevin Durant’s inclement weather might go too.

The questions have come up often in recent basketball conversations: How to explain the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies toppling of the No. 1 seeded Spurs and another potential takedown of the favored Oklahoma City Thunder?

Is Memphis a championship-level club, and can the core continue its devastating, history-making march beyond these playoffs?

Mere months ago, Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo came to blows in an airplane after another card game gone awry. The embarrassing fracas threatened to demolish the franchise’s postseason hopes and send its momentum sprawling backward.

A trade to send Mayo to Indiana for Pacers forward Josh McRoberts fell through at the last minute after both front offices had all but consummated the transaction.

The team’s highest-paid player then suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Rudy Gay’s absence figured to torch the squad’s playoff chances for good.

Add to that list GM Chris Wallace giving up on sophomore Hasheem Thabeet, the No. 2 selection in the 2009 draft, after a year-and-a-half and a pair of D-League shifts.

How would Lionel Hollins—a neophyte coach with sparse sideline experience prior to his Memphis stint—handle such a young, combustible group?

Would noted, petulant punk Zach Randolph galvanize his troops or pulverize chemistry as he did in Portland and New York?

The Houston Rockets’ March charge, in which the Grizzlies hold on the eighth seed dwindled to a game-and-a-half, had to give Hollins a nasty case of night sweats.

Against all odds, Beale Street’s new beloved hoops squad hopes to steal away a Western Conference semifinals clash in Oklahoma City today.

In honor of Game 7, here are seven reasons to believe the hype surrounding an eighth seed that is anything but.

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