NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 24th (All times Eastern)
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder (1-1) at (7) Memphis Grizzlies (1-1), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies head to FedExForum Thursday night for Game 3 of their Western Conference quarterfinal matchup.
The Grizzlies knotted the series with a 111-105 overtime victory Monday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Memphis played well and had the lead late until the Grizzlies basically tried to give the Thunder the game.
The Grizzlies held a five-point cushion and presumptive MVP Kevin Durant hit one of the most amazing shots in recent history. Memphis' Marc Gasol was draped all over Durant and bumped him out of bounds. Durant blindly sent a high-arching rainbow that somehow went in.
"If you're a half-empty guy, you expect that to go in," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said on Tuesday. "Crazy shots happen, especially by great players. Then the foul, too. Probably the craziest shot I've seen and one of the best shots I've seen."
The free throw cut Oklahoma City's deficit to one, and Mike Conley only made 1-of-2 at the stripe to make it a two-point game at 99-97 with 12 seconds to go.
With no timeouts to use, Russell Westbrook sped down the court and forced up a deep, contested 3-point try that drew iron. Kendrick Perkins, though, boxed out Courtney Lee and narrowly got his putback to fall just before the horn.
The score was tied 105-105 in overtime, then good ball movement by the Grizzlies, who assisted on 30 of their 43 made baskets, provided the difference, as Tony Allen cut into the lane, drew another defender and fed Randolph for an easy layup.
After Serge Ibaka was whistled for traveling, Lee sank two free throws and Randolph added two more to put the game away.
"They deserve the success they had the last 40 games of the year. This is no different," said Joerger. "I don't think we're going to have any assumption that we'll come home and the crowd will push us through."
Randolph scored 25 points, Conley donated 19 points with 12 assists and Gasol and Lee each chipped in 16 points for the victors.
Durant finished with 36 points and 11 rebounds while Westbrook added 29 points, eight assists and seven boards. The duo combined to shoot just 23- of-56 from the field. Ibaka finished with 15 points, 11 boards and five blocks.
The Grizzlies are 9-4 in their last 13 at home against the Thunder, including two previous playoff matchups.
But the Thunder went 25-16 on the road during the 2013-14 campaign, which was the second-best mark in the NBA.
"In order to win games in the playoffs, you have to win on the road," Westbrook said. "Regardless of whether we had won Game 2, we would have had to win on the road if we want to win. We have to go in there and take care of business."
The Thunder will have to clean up a few areas for Thursday night. In Game 2, Memphis outscored OKC, 56-36, in the paint. The Grizz have a clear advantage with their big-man combo of Randolph and Gasol, but the Memphis bench dominated Oklahoma City's 33-14.
Game 4 will be on Beale Street Saturday night.
04/24 10:34:50 ET