Game Recap - Playoffs Round 2 Game 6 vs Memphis Grizzlies

Playoffs Game Recap
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1 Shots made by Kevin Durant after drawing his second foul and leaving the game with 7:37 left in the first quarter.

2 Charges taken by Thunder guard James Harden.

4 Turnovers the Thunder committed in the first 1:50 of the game.

6 Lead changes in the game.

13 Biggest lead in the game for each team.

16 Percent the Thunder shot from 3-point range.

27 Points scored by the Thunder bench.

27.3 Shooting percentage by the Thunder (6-for-22) in the third quarter; the Grizzlies shot 55.6 percent (10-for-18).

41 Total rebounds by each team.

GAME 7 in the best-of-seven series will be played Sunday afternoon in the Oklahoma City Arena. Tipoff is 2:30 p.m. Central and will air live on ABC-TV and the Thunder Radio Network.

"Game 7s are exciting games,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said.

"I said it all series. We’re very even teams. You can’t get much closer than 3-3. … We worked hard all year to give us an opportunity to have a Game 7 at home in front of our fans."

Said Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins: "Now it just comes down to going out, competing and playing. I said at the beginning that this was going to be a long, hard-fought series. Here we are, we’re going to play a Game 7.”


GAME IN REVIEW

THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN: If you have watched this series from the beginning, you know the game is never over until the final buzzer sounds.

That said, the third quarter is what ultimately helped the Memphis Grizzlies force a seventh and deciding game to be played Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m., ABC-TV) in the Oklahoma City Arena. Memphis opened the third with a 15-5 run and, more important, re-established its defensive identity en route to a 95-83 victory over the Thunder.

"I give Memphis a lot of credit. They came out in that third quarter and really tightened up their defensive rotations. … I thought we got a little slow with the basketball, we were slow with our running and they were making shots. They made tough shots.”

That surge re-energized the crowd and set the stage for a final 24 minutes that saw the Thunder outscored, 51-29, in the second half.

"We didn’t play well in the third quarter. That’s the bottom line,” Brooks said.

Said Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins: "I just told our guys (at halftime) that we had to stay together and keep fighting and keep battling. We came out real strong in the third quarter and got some stops. Four times in that quarter we had three stops in a row. We rebounded well, and that allowed us to get out and run.”

TURNING POINTS: Kevin Durant is called for his second personal foul just 4 minutes, 23 seconds into the game and is replaced by James Harden. Durant had six points at the time and was in a shooting groove, hitting his only two shots while grabbing three rebounds as the Thunder jumped out to a 11-6 lead. The Grizzlies respond with a 15-3 run to build a 21-16 lead. … With emotions high and the crowd coming alive, the Thunder closes the first quarter with a mini burst to pull within 23-21 after the first 12 minutes. … With the crowd silent and the Grizzlies struggling, Shane Battier drains a 3-pointer at the buzzer to re-energize his teammates and fans and pull Memphis within 10 at the half, 54-44. The momentum continues in the third quarter as the Grizzlies open with a 15-5 run to tie the game at 59-59 with 5:17 to play in the period.

PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON'T SHOW: James Harden stepping in to draw a charge on Grizzlies center Marc Gasol. … Nick Collison hustles up off the floor to set a hard screen on Grizzlies forward Shane Battier to free Harden, who is fouled on his drive to the basket. … Thabo Sefolosha in a full sprint to battle Gasol for a loose ball. … Collison getting back on defense to block the shot of Grizzlies guard Greivis Vasquez, who appeared to have a clear path to the basket. … Collison battling two Grizzlies for an offensive rebound, the Thunder’s first in the game. … Russell Westbrook, using a screen set by Kevin Durant, drives the lane and kicks to Harden on the wing for a 3-point shot and 49-39 lead. … Perkins reaching behind to steal a pass with the Grizzlies on a fast break. … Perkins and Westbrook running a perfect give-and-go that leads to a Perkins basket and 63-59 lead.

STATS WORTH REPEATING: 51-29: The Thunder was outscored in the second half by that margin. … 14-4. That was the Thunder’s rebounding edge in the second quarter, when it turned a two-point deficit after the first quarter into a 10-point lead at halftime. The Thunder didn’t allow the Grizzlies one offensive rebound in the period; Memphis had five in the first quarter. … 4-for-4: James Harden made all four shot attempts he took in the first half, including two 3-pointers.

ROSTER MOVE: The Grizzlies opened the game with sixth man O.J. Mayo in the starting lineup, with small forward Sam Young on the bench. Mayo started only 17 games for the Grizzlies in the regular season and zero in 11 post-season games. "We weren’t spacing the court and I thought O.J. could open things up a little,” Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins said.

ONLY IN MEMPHIS: Former professional wrestling superstar Jerry "The King” Lawler, a Memphis native, made his first appearance in the series during a third-quarter time out. Lawler used a folding chair to "take out” an unsuspecting "Thunder fan” (wink, wink), a move that sent the crowd into a full roar.

LAST WORD I: "We did not play good basketball, but there was a lot of effort out of our guys tonight.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

LAST WORD II: "He saved himself for Sunday. He had some nice looks and he missed them. I can’t say we can take credit for that. … They have a nice, young team, like we do. It’s going to be a dog fight on Sunday.” – Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins, talking about Thunder forward Kevin Durant and his 3-for-14 shooting performance.

-- Ron Matthews, THUNDER.NBA.COM