Memphis wins series 4-1
|Game 1: Sunday, May 5th|
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|Game 2: Tuesday, May 7th|
|Recap »Boxscore »|
|Game 3: Saturday, May 11th|
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|Game 4: Monday, May 13th|
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|Game 5: Wednesday, May 15th|
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5:00 PM ET, May 11, 2013
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies call it grit and grind, and it got them through another ugly game.
Marc Gasol scored 20 points and hit two free throws with 1:03 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the Grizzlies held off Oklahoma City 87-81 on Saturday to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.
Gasol scored 16 in the second half as Memphis remained unbeaten at home in the postseason.
The Grizzlies pulled out the win in a choppy performance for both teams after a three-day layoff since Game 2 with the Thunder beating them at their own game, dominating the boards and in the paint. After struggling at the free-throw line in Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies hit all six at the line in the final 1:03 to clinch it.
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"We just stayed after it like we've done all year long," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "It's not always pretty. Tonight wasn't pretty, but it was pretty for us because we got the win."
Game 4 is Monday night in Memphis, and Hollins wants one more home win for a franchise in its second Western semifinal in two seasons. The Grizzlies lost to Oklahoma City in seven games in 2011 after splitting Games 3 and 4 in Memphis. But they are 18-1 at home since Feb. 8.
"I'd rather take my chances with where we're sitting now and try to win all of our home games," Hollins said. "We got a long way to go, and we got to keep battling."
Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but only two in the fourth quarter. A 91 percent free-throw shooter in the regular season, Durant missed two with 39.3 seconds left. Durant also had 11 rebounds and five assists.
"It's frustrating, but we can't hang our heads," Durant said. "We have to keep playing and keep improving. We just have to learn from it. We have to embrace the tough times and get better from it. I believe in my teammates."
Though his teammates, with Russell Westbrook out with a knee injury, need to give him more help.
The Thunder had their worst scoring and shooting performance this postseason. Reggie Jackson had 16 points for Oklahoma city, and Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka each added 13. Jackson and Ibaka also grabbed 10 rebounds apiece. Durant went 3 of 11 from the floor in the second half, and his teammates went a combined 23 of 69 for the game.
What A Difference
The Grizzlies were a different team defensively when center Marc Gasol was on the floor in Game 3 against the Thunder. These numbers back that up:
|Opp FG pct||31.1||48.1|
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
"It was definitely a good feeling because we didn't play the best Grizzlies' basketball that we know we can play as a team," Randolph said.
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks insisted he liked the shots his Thunder took, even though they didn't get as many wide-open looks beyond the arc as they did in the first two games.
"We are hopeful that we get those same shots in the next game," Brooks said.
The Grizzlies built leads repeatedly, getting to as much as 10 in the second quarter.
Memphis won despite not winning in the categories the Grizzlies usually dominate. The Thunder outrebounded them 51-44, with a 14-5 edge on the offensive glass. The Thunder also outscored the Grizz 44-30 in the paint, with a 23-7 edge on fast-break points.
The Thunder didn't score after Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer with 1:58 left, a shot tying for the eighth and final time at 81. The Grizzlies' edge came from getting to the line where they hit more free throws (23 of 28) than Oklahoma City even took (12 of 19).
"Obviously, they beat us in a lot of different areas tonight," said Memphis guard Mike Conley, who hit all four free throws in the final minute. "For us to come away with the win, we are very happy. We will take it, but it just goes to show we have a lot of work to do. We have to do better the next game."
The rust from the layoff showed early for both teams. Ibaka missed not one but two dunks in the first half, Thabo Sefolosha had an airball and the Grizzlies, who had been so good at limiting turnovers, had five in the first quarter alone.
Hollins switched up his defense on Durant from the first two games in Oklahoma City.
He didn't put Allen, who finished fifth in voting for Defensive Player of the Year, on Durant until the final minutes of Game 2. This time, he alternated Allen with Tayshaun Prince defending Durant throughout the first half. Allen played Durant most of the third, and that helped limit Durant to 2 of 7 shooting in the quarter as the Thunder went 4 of 20 from the floor.
"He is a great defender, don't get me wrong," Durant said about Allen. "But it's the Grizzlies' team defense. I need to make the right plays for my team. I missed a few shots in the second half."
Memphis led 66-60 at the end of the third quarter. The Grizzlies pushed that to 71-62 on a 3 by Keyon Dooling and a 19-foot jumper by Darrell Arthur. Then the Thunder scored six straight, the last on a dunk by Martin forcing Hollins to take a timeout.
The Grizzlies, who had hit only one of their first nine 3-pointers, hit 3 of 5 in the third quarter to take a 77-70 lead when Pondexter knocked down a 3 with 6:29 left. Pondexter also helped defend Durant in the fourth quarter.
The Thunder led 45-44 at halftime. Durant scored 14 of the Thunder's first 24 points as he connected on five of his first six shots.
The Grizzlies grabbed their biggest lead at 28-18 on a 28-footer by Bayless. Then Gasol picked up his second foul with 9:02 left and went to the bench for the rest of the half.
DeAngelo Williams, the former Memphis running back now with the NFL's Carolina Panthers, and rapper Lil Wayne had courtside seats with Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones also on hand. ... Durant extended his streak with 20 or more points to 35 straight playoff games. ... Durant had his second-lowest scoring game this postseason, a point off the 24 he had in the opener against Houston. ... The Thunder went 17-4 after a loss in the regular season. ... The Grizzlies had their 14th straight postseason sellout.
MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 11: Mike Conley #11 of the Memphis Grizzlies arrives before Game Three of the Western Conference...(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Around The Association
MVP: Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies were able to hold the Thunder to 36.4 percent shooting thanks in large part to Gasol's ability to always be positioned correctly defensively. He was the ever-present roadblock in nearly all of OKC's driving lanes.
LVP: Serge Ibaka was one of the best midrange shooters in basketball during the regular season, but his nightmare series continued. After going 6-for-17, Ibaka is now a woeful 12-for-39 from the field in the series.
Well that was ... the yips. Reggie Jackson committed two brutal fouls down the stretch. Kevin Durant, a 91 percent free throw shooter, missed two critical FTs. Scott Brooks let time tick away. Derek Fisher missed a rushed, deep 3. OKC has been here before, but it didn't look like it.
Marc Gasol gave the Grizzlies the defensive spark they needed on Saturday. With Gasol on the floor, the Thunder shot 31.1%, compared to 48.1% with him on the bench. Memphis was also 23 points per 100 possessions better than the Thunder with Gasol and 32.6 points per 100 possessions worse without him.[+]
Grizzlies with Gasol On/Off Court, Saturday
The Thunder had a poor shooting night, making just 36.4% of their attempts. In the first half, the Thunder got to the rim on 21 shot attempts, almost reaching their regular-season average of 26.4 attempts per game inside 5 feet. However, in the second half, they attempted 7 shots within 5 feet.[+]
Thunder Percent of FGA by Shot Distance, Saturday
The Thunder and Grizzlies find themselves exactly where they stood two years ago - when Oklahoma City went on to win in seven games.[+]
Thunder-Grizzlies Postseason Meetings
ESPN Stats & Information
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