Grlizzlies need OT to knot series against Thunder
Memphis Grizzlies guard Beno Udrih drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher during Game 2 of their Western Conference quarterfinal series at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, April 21, 2014. (MARK D. SMITH/USA Today)
Forward Zach Randolph scored 25 points to lead the Memphis Grizzlies past the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-105 in overtime of Game 2 of a first-round playoff series at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The best-of-seven series is tied at 1-1 heading to Memphis for Game 3 Thursday. But the win did not come easily for the visiting squad.
With 2:19 left in overtime, Randolph scored to give the Grizzlies a 105-101 advantage. Forward Durant responded with a 3-pointer to bring the Thunder to within one.
After the Grizzlies missed a shot, Durant drove to the rim on a fastbreak attempt, but could not convert after running into Memphis guard Courtney Lee. The Grizzlies came up with the loose ball.
Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha then stole the ball from Grizzlies guard Mike Conley.
After a timeout, Durant was fouled by centre Marc Gasol. Durant hit only one of two from the free-throw line to tie game at 105-105 with 35 seconds left.
Oklahoma City didn’t score again as the Grizzlies’ defense stiffened. Randolph and Lee scored the last six points to close out the contest.
Conley scored 19 points to go along with 12 assists and seven rebounds. Lee and Gasol each posted 16 points while guard Beno Udrih came off the Memphis bench to score 14 points.
Durant led all scorers with 36 points on 12-for-28 shooting. He also collected 11 boards and four assists. Guard Russell Westbrook added 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Forward Serge Ibaka had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots in the loss.
The Grizzlies didn’t shrink from the moment of being down 0-1 in the series. After battling for a couple of offensive rebounds, the ball found its way into guard Mike Miller’s hands at the top of the key for a 3-pointer that gave Memphis a 95-93 advantage with 53 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Westbrook tried to answer, but his 3-point shot was off and the Grizzlies got the rebound. Conley was fouled and he hit one of two free throws.
The Thunder got the ball to Durant, but he turned it over under guard Tony Allen’s pressure. Conley went to line again and hit a pair to give the Grizzlies a 98-93 lead with 18 seconds remaining.
Durant made a 3-pointer while being fouled and falling out of bounds. The ensuing free throw closed gap to 98-97 with 13 seconds left.
Conley was fouled and missed one of two from the line for a 99-97 Memphis lead with 12 seconds to go.
The Thunder tried to get the ball to Durant, but he was covered by Allen. Westbrook ended up with an off balance 3-pointer that was off the mark. But centre Kendrick Perkins, who had just been reinserted into the game, came down with the offensive rebound and put back at the buzzer to send the contest into overtime.
Oklahoma City Thunder F Serge Ibaka received the April Kia Community Assist Award in recognition of his charitable contributions and generosity in his home country of the Republic of the Congo, the NBA announced. “It was my dream when I was young to help those orphanages,” Ibaka said. “My mom died when I was 7 and I know how hard it is for those kids in the street, how they live, what they need, so that is why I want to work with UNICEF to do the best I can to help them.” ... Ibaka came in fourth in NBA Defensive Player of the Year award. Chicago’s Joakim Noah took home the award. “Joakim is obviously one of the best defenders in the league and Serge is right there,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s my defensive player of the year. I know what he does for us.” ... After Game 1 of the series, members of the Memphis media expressed the opinion that coach David Joerger needed to bench F Tayshaun Prince and start F Tony Allen. “We won 50 games and it’s been pretty good since the All-Star break playing the way that we were,” Joerger said. “So I don’t know if we should jump off a cliff after a bad first half. I think that’s absurd.”