Game Recap - Playoffs Round 2 Game 3 at Memphis Grizzlies

Playoffs Game Recap
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6 Shots blocked by Serge Ibaka, giving him 37 in eight playoff games. He had three in the first 7:42 of the game.

8 Times the game was tied.

12 Assists by Russell Westbrook and rebounds by Kevin Durant.

13 Rebounds by Kendrick Perkins, six of which came on the offensive end.

16 Thunder’s biggest lead (68-52) of the game.

21 Free throw differential between the Thunder (21-for-23) and the Grizzlies (30-for-44).

22 Points from the Thunder bench. James Harden had 12 of those points.

108 Combined number of rebounds for the Thunder (53) and Grizzlies (55).

GAME 4 in the best-of-seven series will be played Monday night in the FedEx Forum in Memphis. Tipoff is 8:30 p.m. Central and will air live on TNT and the Thunder Radio Network.  

“The quicker we can get over it and realize that we need to win one game here -- and we can still do that -- the better,” Thunder forward Nick Collison said.  “If we win Game 4, then we’ll still be in good shape.  As disappointing as it is, we need to get over it quickly and be ready to play in Game 4.”


THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: The Thunder scored just 10 points in the fourth quarter, which allowed the Grizzlies to tie the game and force overtime.  

Those 12 minutes erased the previous 36 that saw the Thunder take hold of a tight game after the first quarter and turn it into a double-digit advantage that completely took the sold-out FedEx Crowd out of the game.  

The Thunder made just 4 of 18 points in that final quarter and got the free-throw line only twice. The Grizzlies, meantime, forced four turnovers in that period, made nine of 20 shots, got to the line six times and scored 23 points.  

“That was a game that we had a chance to win, but we didn’t do a very good job of executing in the fourth quarter.  I give them a lot of credit; they really got into us and took us out of our offense,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “Defensively, we battled and fought and played as hard as we could play.  … Too many offensive rebounds, too many points off of those offensive rebounds.  By the fourth quarter, and we’re up 13 (points), we had a chance to really do a better job at executing down the stretch and we did not do that.”  

Said Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins: “It was a great battle, and I just thought Oklahoma City played outstanding and had a great game plan.  We were just fortunate by the grace of God to overcome it.”

TURNING POINTS: Trailing 28-24 in the second quarter, the Thunder goes on a 16-3 run following a time out to take a 40-31 lead. James Harden has seven points in that run. … Midway through the third quarter, the Grizzlies pull to within 59-52 on a Tony Allen free throw. The Thunder responds with a 9-0 run to take its biggest lead of the night, 70-75. … The Thunder is held scoreless for the first 3 minutes, 5 seconds of the fourth quarter and scored only four points in a span of 6:04 as the Grizzlies cut what once was a 16-point deficit to just three, 82-79.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: Kendrick Perkins setting a pick on Mike Conley to free Russell Westbrook, who darts to the basket, challenges Marc Gasol and makes the bucket for a 7-2 lead. … Serge Ibaka recording his third block in the first quarter. He saves the ball from going out of bounds and gets it to Thabo Sefolosha, sending the Thunder racing down court. … Nick Collison, refusing to give up his defensive stand in the paint, drawing an offensive foul call on Zach Randolph. … Eric Maynor stepping in front of Greivis Vasquez for steal at midcourt. Maynor finds Harden, who drives hard to the hoop for two points and ties the game, 30-30. … Collison setting a screen to free Harden, who drives to the basket, converts and is fouled. His three-point play gives the Thunder its first lead, 33-31, since the first quarter. … Nice give-and-go exchange between Kendrick Perkins and Westbrook for a 38-31 lead.  … Thabo Sefolosha stepping in the passing lane for a steal. Sefolosha immediately finds Westbrook, who is fouled on his drive to basket.  Westbrook makes both free throws. … Durant, battling Grizzlies center Marc Gasol for a rebound, secures it. Durant nails a jumper at the other end.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: It’s not worth repeating, but it was the difference: The Thunder was outscored 38-17 in the final 17 minutes of the game.

LAST WORD I: “They (Grizzlies) did a good job of really loading up to the basketball and not (have) letting us get into our sets.  We have to do a better job of coming off, a better job of getting to our spots and more energy with our cuts.  The game is physical throughout and you can’t give in to what they want to do.  I thought they dictated our offense and we were doing a very good job for three quarters of really forcing what we do onto them and we stopped doing it.  The last seven or eight minutes, we just stopped doing it and we gave into their play.  I give them credit, they really stepped up and got into us and made us take tough shots.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

LAST WORD II: “I had preached to my guys all year long that it’s not over until there’s zero on the clock.   We were dead in the water, and we needed to do something to get some energy.  We went small.  You’re just trying.  You’re just shifting and putting players in because we were down 16 points.  We eventually found something that worked, and we ran with it.  With about seven or eight minutes, I came back with the two big guys.  We were able to continue with the energy that they had started.  The house got alive and was excited, and we kept the energy up.” – Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM