Game Recap - Playoffs Round 2 Game 2 vs Memphis Grizzlies

Playoffs Game Recap
111 102

2 Field goals by Zach Randolph. He had zero in the second half.

8 Points James Harden had in the first quarter. He had five points total in Game 1.

12 Minutes played in the third quarter by Nick Collison, all of them engaged in a physical battle with Randolph.

17 Fast-break points by the Thunder; Grizzlies had six.

21 Thunder’s biggest lead of the night – 97-76 following a 3-pointer by Daequan Cook.

48 Points by the Thunder bench.

50 Combined points by Kevin Durant (26) and Russell Westbrook (24).

69 Combined fourth-quarter points by the Thunder and Grizzlies.

GAME 3 in the best-of-seven series will be played Saturday in the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Tipoff is 4 p.m. Central and will air live on ESPN and the Thunder Radio Network.

  “We know that we’re going into a very great environment from what I saw on TV,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said of Memphis and its fans. “The guys are very excited about that opportunity on Saturday.

  “We’ve always been a good road team. We have to win a game in Memphis to regain our home court. This win tonight, all it does is guarantee a Game 5. … Memphis is going to come out and go hard. They did what they wanted to do – they came here and won one game.”


GAME IN REVIEW

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: Nick Collison successfully battled Grizzlies center Marc Gasol for an offensive rebound with 1 minute, 50 seconds remaining and the Thunder up 103-94.  

The Grizzlies had battled back from a 21-point deficit and had momentum on their side following a three-point play by guard Mike Conley. But Collison stepped in front of Gasol on the next Thunder possession, and was fouled while securing his seventh rebound of the night. He made the second of his two free throws to push the lead back to 10.

TURNING POINTS: The start of the game – and the first quarter overall. Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said a physical, quick start was important and his team did just that. Grizzlies big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were a combined 1-for-7 from the field and the Thunder jumped out to a 28-17 lead. … The Thunder closed the second quarter on a 18-6 run and led 54-55 at the half.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Kevin Durant racing back to break up a Grizzlies fast break. … Nick Collison setting a screen that buckled Grizzlies forward Shane Battier. … Durant leading a break and finding Harden, who cuts to the basket, drawing defenders with him. He dishes to Russell Westbrook for an easy two and 16-10 lead. …  Harden fights to regain possession of the ball and, with the shot clock winding down, nails a jumper for 28-17 lead. … Westbrook swipes the ball as Darrell Arthur is driving toward the hoop. Durant picks up the loose ball and is off and running. His 3-point play makes it 41-33. … Kendrick Perkins’ touch pass to Collison for an uncontested dunk. … Daequan Cook crashes the boards and tips a defensive rebound to Collison, a sequence that leads to a 3-pointer by Eric Maynor at the other end.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: The Grizzlies were limited to 34 points in the paint and 18 second-chance points. This was a major area of focus for the Thunder following Game 1, when the Grizzlies had 52 points in the paint and 22 second-chance points. “We came out focused on how not to give them easy buckets,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. … The Thunder bench outscored the Grizzlies’ bench, 48-29.

SPOTTED ON THE SIDELINE: During the third quarter, Kevin Durant was on the bench, cheering on his teammates like every one of the 18,203 in attendance – he was wearing the free Thunder T-shirt that COX Communications provided.

THE $20,000 SHOT: Roman Owen became the third person this season to hit the MidFirst Bank $20,000 Shot. His half-court shot hit nothing but net and sent the sold-out OKC Arena crowd into a frenzy. Owen and fans weren’t the only ones excited – Thunder guard Nate Robinson rushed out to offer a high-five to Owen.

LAST WORD: “I thought we did a good job of coming out in the first quarter with the right defensive mindset.  We came out focused on how not to give them (Grizzlies) easy buckets.  I thought that set the tone for the game.  They scored 17 points in the first quarter, and if I’m not mistaken, they only had four points in the paint and that was an area that we wanted to focus on and make sure we did a better job on.  We did that tonight.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

GAME STORY

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks wanted his team to establish a physical, defensive tone early and to use its energy wisely as it took the floor Tuesday for Game 2.

Message received.

The Thunder battled Memphis big men Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol on every touch and got a complete team effort in defeating the Grizzlies 111-102 to even the best-of-seven series at 1-1. The series now shifts to Memphis for Games 3 and 4.

“I thought we did a good job of coming out in the first quarter with the right defensive mindset,” Brooks said. “We came out focused on how not to give them (Grizzlies) easy buckets. I thought that set the tone for the game.”

The Thunder – led by the inspired play of big men Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed -- limited the Grizzlies to just two points in the paint in the first quarter and 34 for the game.

Two days earlier, in Game 1, the Grizzlies had 52 points in the paint, the majority of which came from Randolph, who finished with 34 points, and Gasol, who had 20. On Tuesday, the Grizzlies’ big men shot a combined 5-of-22 and finished with 28 points between them.

“On Zach’s and Gasol’s touches, we were crowding them. We were just crowding them and making sure they saw bodies, not giving them any easy lanes and easy passes down the lane,” Brooks said. “I thought we did a terrific job of that for the first three quarters.”

The Thunder led 76-68 through three quarters, thanks to a grinding defensive effort and a balanced offensive attack. That continued early in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder opened the period on a 21-8 run that include three 3-pointers from Eric Maynor, seven points from James Harden and three from Daequan Cook.

“That is how our bench played has played all season,” guard Russell Westbrook said. “I think we have the best bench in the league because they come in ready to compete.”

The Thunder bench outscored the Grizzlies bench, 48-29. In Game 1, Thunder reserves had only 16 points.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with a game-high 26 points, but he was far from alone. Westbrook had 24 points, Harden 21 and Maynor 15. Nine of the 10 Thunder players who saw playing time scored.

"It was a classic desperate team, more aggressive team," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "I say the desperate team usually wins, and they were the desperate team in their play, which was a sense of urgency and aggressiveness.

"They came out and attacked."

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM