Grizzlies Bear Down In Game 2
By Randy Renner
A few minutes earlier when it was desperation time for the Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant hit one of the most amazing high pressure basketball shots you'll ever see anyone hit.
His team down by five with less than 15 seconds on the clock Russell Westbrook shoveled a pass to Durant in the left corner as Westbrook was falling out of bounds. Then just as Durant gathered in the pass he was run into and fouled by Memphis center Marc Gasol and also started to fall out of bounds.
Before his butt hit the seats he launched a prayer that was answered a moment later, then he hit the free throw and all of a sudden his team trailed by just one.
In the postgame interview room Durant was asked about that shot, "well we lost, so it really don't matter."
The Thunder got the game into overtime but Memphis ended it there with a 6-0 run to start the final five minutes and the Grizzlies finished with a 111-105 win over Durant the the Thunder.
KD finished with 36 points but he had to work for every single one of them, most of the time with either Tony Allen or Tayshaun Prince draped all over him.
Allen was particularly bothersome for the 4-time NBA scoring champ.
"Kevin Durant is one of the greatest to ever play the game, it ain't about me it's about the Grizzlies and playing grit and grind basketball. I gotta do my work early and cause havic, but hey the guy still got 36 points," Allen pointed out.
And like Durant said, 'it don't matter' because the Thunder lost.
The Thunder lost because they did what Memphis did Saturday night, allowed the other team to dictate the pace and the style of play.
The Grizzlies were steamrolled Saturday night, fought their way back and then ran out of gas late in the game.
Monday night the Grizzlies were still pushing the pedal all the way into overtime.
Zach Randolph led them with 25 points, the most he's scored against the Thunder this season. But Z-Bo didn't damage the Thunder as much as guards Mike Conley, Beno Udrih and of course Allen did.
Conley, their underrated point guard, scored 19 and handed out 12 assists. Udrih, filling in for the suspended Nick Calathes, went off for 14 points in 14 minutes on 6-for-8 shooting. And even Allen who admitted, "I don't really know much about the offensive end," scored eight points on 3-for-4 shooting. His contribution though was defense. Big. Time. DEFENSE.
Allen mostly defended and harassed Durant but he also got into Westbrook a time or two, even on the same possession at times.
As the Thunder tried to fight through the hands-on Memphis defense players many times settled for jumpers, long ones. The Thunder took 30 threes and hit just nine.
Westbrook finished with 29 points but it took him 28 shots to get there. The Thunder after getting their offense rolling with 32 fast break points Saturday night, had half that many on Monday while shooting just 39.8 percent.
The ball movement wasn't there this time for the Thunder but Memphis finished with 30 assists and dominated down low scoring 56 points in the paint.
The Thunder will have to try to close that up in Memphis but that's what the Grizzlies do, they grind it out down low.
Still as bad as things went for most of the night the Thunder had several chances to win either in regulation or overtime but they never could quite get over the hump to get the job done. When they got a stop they couldn't hit a shot at the other end and when they hit a shot they couldn't follow it up with a stop.
There was talk before the series began that the Grizzlies, suffering through a variety of injuries this season but fully healthy now aren't your typical #8 seed.
Monday night they proved it to the Thunder.
Now it's OKC's turn to respond, the Thunder will have to win one in Memphis to avoid falling into a deep hole and at the place they call "The Grind House" the Grizzlies have won 14 straight.