|Date of game: 4/24/2014
Recap: Memphis vs. Oklahoma City
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Mike Conley scored 20 points, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen had 16 points apiece and the Memphis Grizzlies held off the Oklahoma City Thunder, 98-95, in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The seventh-seeded Grizzlies never trailed in the second half and owned a commanding 81-64 lead with 7:44 left in the fourth quarter but went ice cold down the stretch, going the next seven minutes without a point as the Thunder clawed back in it.
All five Thunder starters scored during the ensuing 17-0 run, which Russell Westbrook capped with a corner 3-pointer to tie the game at 81-81 with just under a minute remaining. Allen finally broke the seal for Memphis with a baseline jam at the other end, and he stripped Westbrook and went in for a layup to make it 85-81 with 33.1 seconds left.
Then, it was deja vu for Memphis. Three nights after Kevin Durant's four-point play in the final seconds helped the Thunder force overtime, Westbrook did the same on Thursday with 26.6 ticks to play. The electric point guard rose up for a 3-pointer from the top of the key and drew contact from Allen, hitting the shot and ensuing free throw to tie the game at 85. Both teams came up empty on their last possessions in regulation.
Durant opened the extra session with a three-point play down low, but Conley followed a Marc Gasol post bucket with five straight points, and the Grizzlies never trailed the rest of the way.
"Very impressed with our crew," Memphis head coach David Joerger said. "They stayed together, handled the adversity. We got a little slow, we got a little tentative with the lead."
Randolph posted team highs with 10 rebounds and six assists, Gasol netted 14 points with eight boards and for the second straight game, Beno Udrih came up huge off the bench for the Grizzlies, posting 12 points in 14 minutes.
Udrih, who spent the first half of the season with the Knicks, played sparingly in 10 games with the Grizzlies but assumed the backup point guard role after Nick Calathes was suspended for violating the league's drug policy.
Durant and Westbrook scored 30 points apiece for Oklahoma City but missed 17 shots apiece.
"It's a tough place to play," Westbrook said of FedExForum. "They play well at home but we have to stick together as a team, as a unit, and come back and try to win Game 4."
Game 4 is set for Saturday in Memphis.
The home team led by eight at halftime and pushed the spread to 13, 51-38, on Conley's runner two minutes in. The margin reached 17 late in the period on Conley's scoop layup but out of a timeout Derek Fisher potted a 3-ball to cut it to 14. Durant and Reggie Jackson followed with layups and OKC was within striking distance, 71-61, heading into the fourth.
Memphis rebuilt a 17-point advantage after Kosta Koufos' hook shot at 7:44 and looked to be on its way to a comfortable win, but strong defense and strong free throw shooting led the Thunder back.
They hit 6-of-7 from the stripe during the run, including three in a row from Thabo Sefolosha to get things started. Durant's driving dunk cut it to 81-78 with 2:07 left, and Westbrook's steal led to his game-tying triple from the left corner.
After Westbrook tied it with his four-point play, Memphis took the clock down and Conley got to the rim. His lefty scoop was halfway down before rimming out to the dismay of the home crowd. Durant's deep 3-point try at the other end missed long.
After Courtney Lee split a pair from the line with 1.7 seconds left in overtime to give Memphis a 98-94 lead, Westbrook took the inbounds pass and was tripped by Allen attempting a fullcourt heave. The trip drew a whistle and three shots for Westbrook.
He made the first but front-rimmed the second attempt. He missed the third intentionally, but Ed Davis slapped it away as the clock expired.
The two teams traded punches over the first six minutes, with the Thunder taking a 9-8 lead into the first timeout. A pair of Conley free throws out of the huddle sparked a 10-2 Memphis run, which Lee capped with a 21-footer at the 2:28 mark.
The Thunder trailed 24-18 after one.
Allen and Udrih helped Memphis expand its lead early in the second with Durant and Westbrook on the bench. Allen opened the period's scoring with a short pull-up a minute in and made a reverse layup in transition on a full-court feed from Udrih.
Udrih then went on a personal 6-2 run, canning a 3-pointer, a baseline jumper and 1-of-2 free throws around a Durant layup and with 5:30 left in the half, the Grizzlies owned a 38-26 edge.
Conley's jumper with 25.3 seconds left put the finishing touches on the half for Memphis, which carried a 44-36 lead into the locker room.
The 36 points by Oklahoma City was its lowest first half output of the season.Game Notes
The Grizzlies extended their home-winning streak to 15 games ... Memphis has
won seven of its last eight games going back to the regular season ... Memphis
has now won the last three Game 3s against Oklahoma City, all at home ... The
Grizzlies' bench outscored their counterparts, 34-9 ... The Thunder shot just
5-for-28 from 3-point range. Durant missed all eight of his attempts.