THE FACTS: Memphis forward Zach Randolph had a monster game with 28 points and 14 rebounds and he and his teammates smothered Kevin Durant with stifling defense in leading the Grizzlies to an 88-84 win over the Thunder and on into the Western Conference finals.
It will be the Grizzlies first appearance in the conference finals and the Grizzlies had to withstand a furious Oklahoma City rally in the closing minutes to get past the Thunder.
Durant suffered through one of his worst shooting nights, missing his first six shots of the game and finishing just 5-for-21 (23.8 percent) for 21 points, 11 of those coming at the free throw line. Durant also missed his last shot of the game, a potential game-tying jumper from about 15 feet. His Thunder teammates didn't fare much better shooting 36.9 percent overall and just 24 percent on threes.
The Grizzlies didn't have many shots fall either shooting 37 percent. In addition to Randolph's 28 points, the Grizzlies got 13 from point guard Mike Conley, who also handed out 11 assists, 11 from defensive whiz Tony Allen and 10 from center Marc Gasol.
The Thunder also had four players in double figures. In addition to the 21 from Durant, forward Serge Ibaka had his second straight game with 17 points, he also pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Reggie Jackson, starting at point guard in place of injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, had 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists and sixth man Kevin Martin added 10 points.
QUOTABLE: "Every game had a chance to go to the other team. Tonight they came back in the second half and just kept coming and coming, we just made enough plays to win. Zach was huge the whole game, he came out snortin' and gruntin' the whole game."
-- Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins
QUOTABLE II: "We came up short, Memphis made it tough on us all series. That last play I was just trying to get an open look and I had one, but my shot was too long. It's tough to lose your last game in the playoffs and down the road we'll probably look back on this and appreciate these tough times. Sometimes you gotta ride out the storms to get to the sunshine."
-- Kevin Durant
THE STAT: Neither team shot well, rebounds were about even (45-44 Memphis), OKC had more points in the paint (38-36) and more second chance points (16-11) but the biggest difference was again in points off turnovers. The Thunder turned the ball over 14 times and the Grizzlies took advantage scoring 22 points off the givebacks. Memphis turned it over just 10 times and OKC could only score nine points.
TURNING POINT: After OKC ended the third quarter on a 16-4 run to bring the game back to within two points the Grizzlies responded with a 10-2 run to start the fourth and give them back most of the breathing room they had lost. The Thunder roared back one last time getting to within two points but Durant's shot attempt to tie the game was long, his 16th miss of the night.
QUOTABLE III: "We didn't lose the game because one guy didn't shoot the ball well, we lost the game because they were a little bit better than us."
-- Thunder coach Scott Brooks
HOT: Randolph was 5-for-10 (16 points) at halftime and finished 8-for-17 (28 points).
NOT: Defense again dominated at the start of the game, Memphis began 4-for-10 (40 percent) and Oklahoma City started 4-for-11 (36.4 percent)...Durant missed his first six shots and finished the first quarter 1-for-8 (four points) and was 2-for-11 (12 points) at halftime...OKC shot 32.5 percent in the first half...Memphis shot 37.5 percent...Gasol was 1-for-6 (two points) at the break...Derek Fisher was 3-for-11, all threes...Tayshaun Prince was 3-for-13.
INSIDE THE ARENA: The 113th consecutive sellout inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. NBA Commissioner David Stern was in the crowd along with "super fan" Jimmy Goldstein.
GOOD MOVE: Hollins wanted his defenders to be aggressive with Durant, "we just tried to put pressure on him and make him work for everything he got," he said. It worked, especially late in games when Durant seemed to tire. In the fourth quarter, Durant was just 1-for-5 (two points).
BAD MOVE: Late in the second quarter, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was open in the lane and hollered at Durant to pass him the ball. Durant instead kept the ball, took a shot and missed. The ball went out of bounds, Durant and Perkins had a quick conversation and when the ball was inbounded to Durant he passed to Perkins this time who was again open for a moment in the lane. He drove in and short-armed his shot, the ball bouncing off the rim and into the arms of the Grizzlies. At that point in the series Perkins was just 10-for-37 (27 percent).
BAD MOVE, TOO: Too many times, Durant has been swarmed by Memphis defenders while other Thunder players ddidn't do much on offense except stand around and watch. Not much ball movement and not enough screens being set to try to spring Durant or anyone else.
BAD MOVE III: Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, waving a towel on the bench, accidentally tossed the towel onto the floor as Fisher was shooting a 3-pointer in the third quarter. The officials assessed a technical foul on Allen and gave the basket to the Thunder, resulting in a four-point play.
NOTABLE: This will be the Grizzlies' first ever trip to the Western Conference finals...Durant has now recorded 20 or more points in 37 straight playoff games...OKC was just 3-6 in the postseason without Westbrook.
UP NEXT: For the Grizzlies, The Western Conference finals TBA.