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Grizzlies get by Thunder in OT to take 2-1 series lead

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Updated 10 months ago on
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — After a second straight overtime victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder and another night of erratic shooting from forward Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook, Memphis guard Tony Allen didn’t mince words about what the Grizzlies are trying to do.

“Pretty much make the Derek Fishers of the world, the Caron Butler, (Thabo) Sefolosha … make those guys beat us,” Allen said.

It couldn’t be done Thursday night at FedExForum as the Grizzlies won, 98-95, to go up 2-1 in their first-round Western Conference playoff series.

Getting there wasn’t easy as the Thunder rallied from a 17-point deficit with less than eight minutes to play in regulation to get the game into overtime. In Game 1 in Oklahoma City, the Thunder led by as many as 25 points, but the Grizzlies made their own stand and got to within two points before losing by 14.

It might not have seemed like a significant effort then to the Thunder, but Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (20 points) said it mattered.

“That third quarter in Game 1 showed us what we were capable of doing,” he said.

On Thursday, Durant and Westbrook went 19-for-53 (36 percent) as each finished with 30 points.

The Thunder’s 3-point shooting was especially atrocious as they hit just 5-of-28 for 17.9 percent. Durant, 10-for-27 overall, finished 0-for-8 from long range. Westbrook, 9-for-26 from the floor, was 4-for-13 from 3-point range.

Also problematic: Oklahoma City finished with 13 assists and 16 turnovers and gave up 22 points off the turnovers.

“When you shoot 39 percent, there aren’t many assists to throw around,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

“Personally, I think we missed a lot of good looks,” Durant said of the errant threes.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies outscored the Thunder in the paint 62-48.

“They’re a power-post team and Conley does a great job manipulating pick-and-rolls,” said Brooks.

Memphis power forward Zach Randolph recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high six assists. Guard Tony Allen scored 16 off the bench, with nine rebounds and three assists. Center Marc Gasol had 14 points and eight rebounds and backup point guard Beno Udrih scored 12 points in 14 minutes.

The Grizzlies led 44-36 at halftime and during one stretch Allen (10) and Udrih (eight) scored 18 straight points for Memphis.

“When our starters came out, (the bench) actually played better,” Conley said.

The Thunder’s 17-0 run in the fourth quarter tied the score at 81 with 57 seconds to play on a Westbrook 3-pointer.

Memphis went up 85-81 when Allen picked Westbrook’s pocket and went in for a layup with 33 seconds to play.

But the game went into overtime on a four-point play by Westbrook, who was fouled by Allen while sinking a 3-pointer; he hit the free throw to make it 85-85.

“I hate myself for being in one of those plays,” Allen said

Conley missed a driving layup on one end and Durant’s 3-pointer missed on the other to set up overtime. Conley then sparked the Grizzlies in the overtime, scoring five straight points on a 3-pointer and layup to give Memphis a 92-88 lead.

Guard Courtney Lee held off the Thunder by hitting three foul shots in the final 10 seconds.

Durant and Westbrook had just five assists between them and Durant says they know that must change. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the Thunder bench 34-9.

“We own up to it,” Durant said. “We’ve got to get guys involved. We’ll take that on our shoulders.”

As for coming back in the series, the Thunder can draw on the 2011 conference semifinals against Memphis that they won in seven games.

“We’ve been here before,” Brooks said. “A matter of fact, we’ve been here before with this Grizzlies team.”

NOTES: In the previous two playoff meetings between the Thunder and Grizzlies, the eventual series winner lost Game 1 and won Game 2 (boding well for Memphis). … On Thursday, Grizzlies PG Mike Conley was named the NBA Sportsmanship Award Winner for the 2013-14 season, the first player in franchise history to win the Joe Dumars Trophy. He also was off to a strong start in the playoffs — averaging 17.5 points, 11.5 assists and 6.0 rebounds through two games. To try and disrupt him, the Thunder used 6-foot-7 G Thabo Sefolosha on Conley at times, and Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger expects to see more of it, saying, “It was good for them.” … Thunder back-up PG Reggie Jackson had made just 1-of-10 shots from the floor through the first two games, but did pull down eight rebounds and make four assists in the Thunders’ Game 1 victory. “To me, that’s a good game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Your game is more than just making shots.”

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