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Grizzlies take 2-1 series lead with Game 3 win over Thunder

May 11, 2013, 9:00 PM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies - Game Three Getty Images

It was by no means a beautiful effort from the Grizzlies in Game 3 against the Thunder, but they’ll take the effectiveness of it over the aesthetics.

Memphis held Oklahoma City to 36.4 percent shooting, and survived a late run thanks to some key missteps by the Thunder down the stretch. As a result, the Grizzlies now lead the best of seven series two games to one after coming away with an 87-81 home victory on Saturday.

Game 4 is Monday night in Memphis.

We said prior to this one that for the Thunder to continue to have a chance in this series, that Kevin Durant would need to do most of the heavy lifting, just as he’d done through its first two games. While he was spectacular in stretches, especially in the second quarter when he scored seven straight points to bring his team back within striking distance after Memphis had gotten out to a double digit lead, overall the Grizzlies were able to slow him down.

Durant finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while playing almost 46 of the game’s 48 minutes. He started the game 6-of-8 from the field, but finished it shooting just 9-of-19. Part of that was due to Tony Allen‘s on-ball defense, and part of it may have been due to fatigue, although the latter was downplayed by head coach Scott Brooks afterward.

With Durant not quite as spectacular offensively, OKC was going to need some other guys to step up and deliver, and they simply didn’t get the needed contributions. Kevin Martin struggled for the second straight game, chipping in 13 points off the bench but on 6-of-17 shooting. Serge Ibaka‘s struggles were mighty early, as he missed two open dunks and a couple of bunnies near the basket. He finished with the same shooting line as Martin exactly, but added 10 rebounds.

The Thunder cleaned up some things on the defensive end, and that effort is what kept them in the game despite the dismal shooting. They held Zach Randolph to just eight points, and kept Mike Conley in check after his stellar Game 2 performance. They found themselves tied at 81 with just under two minutes remaining, but didn’t score the rest of the way thanks to some costly crunch time mistakes.

Reggie Jackson played an excellent game overall for the Thunder, but made consecutive errors that keyed the Grizzlies’ end-of-game surge. He was called for a charge on a fast break where he ran over Mike Conley, and then, after a couple of free throws from Marc Gasol put the Grizzlies back up two and Durant missed on the ensuing possession, Jackson committed a silly foul in the backcourt at a time when all his team needed was a defensive stop.

There were still 50 seconds remaining in the game at the time of the foul, which would have been plenty of time for OKC to defend. Instead, the two free throws from Conley extended it to a two-possession game.

Gasol was called for a very questionable block on Durant on the next trip down, but in perhaps the ultimate case of “ball don’t lie,” Durant — a 90.5 percent free throw shooter on the season — missed both of his attempts.

Just like the first two games of the series, the team that lost this one can point to plenty of things that went their way that will be signs of encouragement for the following contest. But it just doesn’t feel like the Thunder have enough from a personnel standpoint to win three of the next four to take the series.

  1. ajonesmc931 - May 11, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    Grizz in 5 maybe 6…durant was complaining about being 2nd I think okc will finish worse than that this yr

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

      2nd wont seem so bad 😉

  2. phillyphil005 - May 11, 2013 at 9:18 PM

    Another game marred by terrible officiating down the stretch.

    Par for the course in the Stern era.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 9:42 PM

      NBA refs suck. Its why a lot of people dont watch the NBA. It sure makes it easy for people to think its fixed.

  3. patfic15 - May 11, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Its hard to watch the Thunder struggle like this down the stretch. I’ve really grown to like the team because of its great personnel decisions and consistent effort. That being said, I think Presti may have gotten a little ego problem the last few years. Perkins is a slob in the middle who couldn’t do anymore to slow this team down. Trading Harden looks equally stupid as he would come in ultra handy right now. They should have gotten a vet pg to mentor Westbrook. Can’t blame his injury for all their struggles. Questionable decision making plus quick success have thrown a wrench in the plans. That being said, you struggle before you succeed….all the greats have at some point.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 9:45 PM

      Awesome point with that last sentence.

      The Thunder should have moved Perkins last year for a 2nd rounder to a team that would take his whole salary. A team would take him for that for sure. Hes terrible. Thats $9 million cleared for Harden. Let Ibaka play C. He out thought himself here.

  4. melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Im saying this right now. If the Grizz make it to the Finals and play the Heat they could pull it off. Two very good bigs and Tony Allen can at least make it difficult for Lebron. A long way until then though. Go Grizzlies!

  5. raylangivens2 - May 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

    What about Derek Fisher launching that long three with 20 seconds left on the shot clock and only down 4? I thought that was a key mistake.

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 9:48 PM

      About like Wade shooting that 3 in game 1 against the Bulls with a minute left. One of those…really?..shots.

    • moseskkim - May 11, 2013 at 11:16 PM

      Yeah he had durant right behind him. The shot clock was an issue.. They had to shoot quick cuz there was not a lot of time left in the game but if he had pitched it back to durant.. He would’ve made something. I think fisher takes his clutchness a little too seriously.

  6. halfbaht - May 11, 2013 at 9:58 PM

    Called it during the series against the clips. Z-Bo and the grizz will own the west

    • melkipershero - May 11, 2013 at 10:21 PM

      After the Gay trade everyone was bashing the Grizzlies but had never watched a game obviously. We play better with our offense running through Gasol and ZBo. Gay is so overrated.

  7. acdc363 - May 11, 2013 at 10:42 PM

    Grizzies are the real dizzy!

  8. phillyphil005 - May 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM

    Just so the Grizz know…they would’ve gotten beaten badly in this series if Westbrook was playing.

    I will, however, enjoy the Memphis vs Miami matchup.

    • melkipershero - May 12, 2013 at 12:02 AM

      It’s easy to say that. How do you know Westbrook would have played great? He could have stunk up the joint. Lots of variables.

      • roeski - May 13, 2013 at 1:31 PM

        Westbrook playing would have helped more than hurt. Hard to argue against that.

  9. scottheis82 - May 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    Another game marred by terrible officiating down the stretch.

    Par for the course in the Stern era.

    tell me your thoughts about the officiating before the Stern era… I can’t stand all the Stern hate when the team you like loses, fact is if it wasn’t for Stern we would probably be choosing between hockey and baseball this time of year…

    • Nostrils10 - May 12, 2013 at 4:30 PM


  10. ajw21 - May 11, 2013 at 11:28 PM

    Grizz are good but won’t make it to the Heat. They will lose in the WCF and no it won’t be against the media darlings of the playoffs.

    • melkipershero - May 12, 2013 at 12:01 AM

      Spurs vs. Grizz will be a great matchup. Not so sure how you can say the Spurs are that much better.

  11. lakerluver - May 11, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    K. Perkins has to be the worst player in the league. He’s overrated as a defender and non-existent offensively. The Thunder were foolish for letting go of Harden. With him, they were set up to contend for the next several years. Now it appears that Memphis will come out of the West.

    • pistolpete0903 - May 12, 2013 at 4:02 AM

      Perkins is what you may call a good ‘system’ player. He was good in Thibs heavy help oriented defense in Boston.
      He was never a good one-on-one defender. As for his offense, it was well know to be non-existent.

      • roeski - May 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Never a good one-on-one defender? That’s the only thing he actually does well.

  12. steelers4385 - May 12, 2013 at 1:36 AM

    Grizzlies are beast.

    • 24thesho - May 13, 2013 at 7:08 AM

      You mean, “beasts”.

  13. cj1403 - May 12, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    If Memphis does make it out of the West, they have the best chance to beat the Heat.

    • drago2012 - May 12, 2013 at 9:12 AM

      You are partially right, Memphis will destroy Miami if they come out of the East. Memphis is a bone crushing and flesh bruising team. They play the old fashion way and are built to win NBA titles. Bulls have exposed Miami as a FRAUD, but they just don’t have the bodies to play them due to devastating injuries to their three best players. Bulls reserves are giving Miami all the business they can handle. This series is not over yet by a long shot!!!

      • melkipershero - May 12, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        Miami as frauds? What the hell are you talking about? They lost 1 game and are now a fraud?

      • pistolpete0903 - May 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

        Not a fan of Miami, but calling them fraud is hard to fathom.
        Memphis has the defense (on the perimeter and inside) as well as the offense (on the inside) to take on the Heat. The problem is ball handling and shot creation (the Heat can play some good pressure defense and you can see the lack of an offense player hurting the Bulls).

  14. ajw21 - May 12, 2013 at 7:47 AM

    You are right, it would be a great matchup. I do think the Spurs would win in 7, maybe 6 if they get some bounces their way. I don’t believe the Spurs are that much better but confident they would win the series.

  15. drago2012 - May 12, 2013 at 9:05 AM

    Oklahoma City Thunder will end up being like Minesota Vicking of football!!! They will never win an NBA title because their team is a jump shooting team that flourishes in the regular season due to nobody playing defense. Durant has pencil legs and he will go down next , same as Westbrook.

  16. yuwannano - May 13, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Live by the jumper, die by the jumper. Sorry OKC.

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