Thunder Vows to Stay Physical as Series Shifts to Memphis

From the beginning, the Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies second-round match-up was expected to be the physical, slug-fest of a series it has turned out to be through the first two games. The Grizzlies landed all of the blows Sunday and the Thunder answered back on Tuesday.

“We wanted to get the first hit and we did,” forward Kevin Durant told reporters after the Thunder evened the best-of-seven series with a 111-102 victory in Game 2. "We started with big-time intensity. I thought we responded very well.”

Memphis did not. In fact, the Grizzlies came out in the second game of this series the same way they came out in the second game of the San Antonio series in the first round. A Game 1 Memphis win followed by a loss in Game 2.

“We talked about it before the game even started,” admitted Grizzlies guard Tony Allen. “Let’s not come out like we did in San Antonio in Game 2. We weren’t focused as a group and this is the kind of result you get.”

Neither team had an official practice on Wednesday; the Grizzlies flew home after midnight to go back to the drawing board and did not plan any workouts. The Thunder didn’t practice either, but as is typical on days off, most of the players and all of the coaches showed up anyway.

“Our guys love to be in the gym,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said. “We’ve looked at some film. Either myself or one of the other coaches will meet with individual players about what they did well and what they could do better. The guys will put some shots up, workout, maybe get treatment. Then tomorrow we’ll really get back to work.”

Brooks again praised the effort and intensity his team showed Tuesday night from the opening tip on.

“We just played harder, that’s really about the main difference," he said. "We had more urgency, we played tougher. You’re obviously not going to win every game in these playoffs, but you have to compete every game and at least give yourself a chance to win.”

Now that both teams have given each other a shot to mouth, Brooks said the days off between contests -- Game 3 is Saturday afternoon -- will be good. “It gives us a chance to rest. The day off today is good for the guys,” he said, “and it gives us as coaches some time to really get into a few things before the next full practice, so yeah, I like it.”

Game 3 is set for 4 p.m. Saturday inside FedEx Forum in Memphis. You can watch the action on ESPN or listen in on the Thunder Radio Network.