Another four-point play to force overtime? No big deal.
A 17-0 run to close regulation to send the game to overtime? So what?
Memphis fans can feel elated and relieved following their team’s 98-95 overtime victory, the team’s second for a 2-1 series lead. The Grindhouse lived up to its name and the Grizzlies lived up to their mantra.
When Memphis needed a big play, it got it save for blowing that big lead in the end. It was Tony Allen trying to will the team to victory with some key steals that kept the ball out of Kevin Duran’ts hands. But it was also Tony Allen fouling Russell Westbrook on a made 3-pointer for another four-point play. And then he fouled Russell Westbrook on an attempted 3-pointer on the final possession with the Grizzlies leading by four. Westbrook missed the second free throw and the plans to try a crazy tip-in to tie were lost.
Memphis’ defense continued to stymie and stifle the Oklahoma City offense. Kevin Durant had big numbers with 30 points, but was 10 for 27, missing all seven of his 3-pointers including a late three with his team down three in overtime on a rushed possession. Russell Westbrook also had 30 points, but was 9 for 26 and 4 for 13 from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies pretty much ignored who they had to ignore to commit players to defend these two stars.
The Thunder will have to get more from Serge Ibaka and likely Thabo Sefolosha or Reggie Jackson to take control of this series.
Memphis though had its offensive struggles as one would expect. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol were the team’s biggest offensive threats but struggled to get free late in the game. Thus, turnovers and missed shots allowed the Thunder back in.
Conley scored 20 points and hit a big 3-pointer in overtime to make up for his missed layup at the end of regulation. He was a maestro for most of the game at the point. Marc Gasol had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Zach Randolph scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
And the Grindhouse was rocking to celebrate this one. The Grizzlies are far from running away with this series up only 2-1. But they have done more than serve notice on the Thunder.