Four straight losses, a first round departure, and an injured starter, wasn’t the picture the Los Angeles Clippers painted of their playoffs.

When the Clippers won 56 games, set a franchise record, and went on a 17 game win streak, they were clearly the better team in LA and one of the biggest competitors in the West. But in pursuing a ring, the Clips didn’t learn from their mistakes, forgetting that the hype is only as good as the team’s performance.

Regular season wins and seeded positions don’t matter in the playoffs. All teams enter round one with the same chances to win the championship, making it a leveled playing field.

On Friday night when the Memphis Grizzlies eliminated the Clippers in game six with a 118-105 victory, the better team won, period.

“They came out and threw everything at us,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said of the Clippers performance in game six. “They played small. They played smaller. They pressed. They zoned. They gave hard fouls. They really competed. We held our poise. Held up mentally tough-wise and were able to get the win.”

Zach Randolph and Mike Conley scored 23 points apiece, in under 35 minutes of play and led their team to their third semifinals in three years. Memphis finished with seven players in double figures.

The Grizzlies will face the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

“Now this series is over,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said. “It’s time to enjoy tonight and be ready tomorrow. It’s a quick turnaround, so we can enjoy tonight.”

Both teams have the same amount of time to rest, study, and prepare for their opponents, but with an injured all-star point guard, the Thunder have the biggest disadvantage.

The Grizzlies defense can take advantage of the Thunder’s inconstant offense, something they were unable to do back in the 2011 semifinals when they loss to the Thunder in game seven, 105-90.

With another semifinals birth, the Grizzlies are one of four playoff teams favored to win. This playoff season, the popular kids of Miami, OKC, and San Antonio are being overshadowed by new faces. The Grizzlies, Knicks, Warriors, and Pacers are taking the spotlight and forcing the popular kids to prove their worth.

“ We’ve always been the underdogs. We’re the Grizzlies,” Tony Allen said. “Every year we’re the underdogs. We just want to go out there and do something big.”

Defeating the Thunder in the semifinals will be big indeed.