Game Recap - Playoffs Round 2 Game 1 vs Memphis Grizzlies

Playoffs Game Recap
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1 Playoff games the Thunder has lost on its home court this season.

2 Times the game was tied.

5 Blocked shots by Serge Ibaka, giving him 29 in six playoff games.

11 Fast break points scored by the Thunder.

16 Offensive rebounds grabbed by the Thunder.

20 Turnovers by the Thunder.

62 Combined points by Kevin Durant (33) and Russell Westbrook (29).

GAME 2 in the best-of-seven series will be played Tuesday night in the Oklahoma City Arena.

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks reminded his players and the media that this will be a long series, a statement echoed by Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins in his post-game address.

“It’s a long series. It’s not the way we wanted to start, but we’ll come back and focus all of our effort and energy on Game 2 Tuesday night,” Brooks said.


Scott Brooks did not make any excuses. He looked at the final boxscore, pointed out the areas the Thunder needed to address before Game 2 and then answered as many questions as he could in the allotted time period.

The Thunder had just lost Game 1 of its second-round series vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, 114-101, and did so on its home court for the first time in the 2011 NBA Playoffs.

“Well, that’s obviously not the way we wanted to start the series,” Brooks said. “They did a great job of packing the paint, making us take tough shots. “

The Grizzlies, who advanced to the second round on Friday by eliminating the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in six games, established their inside-outside game early and executed it for all four quarters.

Zach Randolph finished with a game-high 34 points and 10 rebounds and Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 rebounds, helping give the Grizzlies a 52-38 advantage in points scored in the paint. Memphis won the rebounding battle, too, 45-42, 17 of which came on the offensive end.

“He’s a good player,” Brooks said of Randolph. “He did that to the entire league and he did it in the last series (against the Spurs). We have to crowd the paint. … I think they scored just too many points in the paint to start the game. That’s not the way we wanted to go into this game.

“They played well. I give them credit. They’re a good team. … When you get to this round, every team is good. They beat us three out of four this year.”

The Thunder trailed by four after the first quarter and 10 at the half. But the Thunder is known for its ability to bounce back – and it did after halftime. A putback bucket by Serge Ibaka, 3-pointer from Kevin Durant and two free throws from Ibaka capped a 7-0 run that pulled the Thunder to within 61-58 with 8:45 to play in the third quarter.

But Memphis would not buckle, no matter how loud the 18,203 fans in the Oklahoma City Arena cheered. The Thunder made it 75-71 with 3:18 to play, but would get no closer. The Grizzlies closed the quarter on a 9-0 run and opened the fourth quarter by outscoring the Thunder 7-3 to build their largest lead of the game, 91-74, with 10:21 to play.

“Any time you win on the road in the playoffs, it’s a steal,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “That’s what we did. We came in here and stole one. … This is going to be a good series and it’s just starting.”

Said Durant, who scored 33 points and grabbed 11 rebounds: “At the end of the day, you’ve got to play basketball. You can make excuses, but that’s not what we’re going to do. They made shots, they executed, they played better than us. You’ve got to give them all the credit.”

Game 2 is Tuesday night in the Oklahoma City Arena. Tipoff is 8:30 p.m. Central and will air on TNT and the Thunder Radio Network.


THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder, 16-3, in a stretch of 5 minutes, 4 seconds covering the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth.

The Thunder trailed by 10 at the half, 57-47, and had fought back to pull with three on two occasions and by four on five separate occasions, the last on a spinning drive and shot by Nick Collison with 3:18 to play in the third quarter that made it 75-71 Memphis.

The Thunder did not score again until James Harden hit a 3-pointer with 11:10 to play. The Grizzlies’ O.J. Mayo answered with a 3 at the other end and Shane Battier followed with a short jumper, putting the Grizzlies up 91-74 with 10:21 to play.

TURNING POINT: In the third quarter, with the crowd back in the game, Serge Ibaka makes two free throws to cut the lead to 61-58. Kendrick Perkins turns to the crowd with his arms extended and motions for the 18,203 to make some noise. A couple of series later, still down three, Ibaka grabs a defensive rebound and misfires the outlet pass too high for Russell Westbrook and into the hands of Tony Allen. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph is fouled seconds later and converts both free throws, resulting in a four-point swing and a 65-60 Memphis lead. … With 6:28 to play in the game, Durant drills a 17-foot jumper to cut the lead to 95-88. The crowd is once again roaring, but the Grizzlies push the lead back to 12 and are never threatened again.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Russell Westbrook knocking the ball out of Tony Allen’s hands in the paint following the opening tip. The Thunder turns that into a 2-0 lead on a 17-foot jumper by Serge Ibaka. … Kevin Durant, trapped while looking for a teammate to pass the ball to, rises and shoots over Sam Young for his first field goal of the game. … Nick Collison hustles back to break up a Grizzlies fast break by fouling center Marc Gasol. The Grizzlies’ big man misses his first free throw, but makes second. … Durant blocks the shot of Shane Battier and collects the loose ball. KD drains a 3 at other end. … Harden draws three Grizzlies to him on a drive through lane and dishes to Ibaka for a two-handed dunk. … Ibaka rejects the shot of Zach Randolph and Harden stays in bounds while recovering the ball, sending the Thunder racing the other way. … Thabo Sefolosha, forced to defend Randolph low in the post on a switch, gets help from Collison, who drops down and steals the pass to the Grizzlies’ forward.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: 16-3. That was the game-changing run the Grizzlies went on over the end of the third quarter and start of the fourth. 52-38: Points in the paint, advantage Grizzlies. “We have to crowd the paint,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said afterwards. “… I think they scored just too many points in the paint to start the game. That’s not the way we wanted to go into this game.”

LAST WORD: “We wanted to take care of the basketball. We didn’t do that, too many turnovers. We wanted to keep them off the offensive boards. We didn’t do that. … We’ll look at the film and get to the practice court and start making the changes for Game 2.” – Brooks summing up Game 1.

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM