Saturday, May 7, 2011
Grizzlies claw way into series lead
By ESPN Stats & Info
Entering the fourth quarter, the young Memphis Grizzlies found themselves down by 13 points to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the franchise’s first ever Conference Semifinal home game. From there, Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies defense took over as Memphis grabbed a 2-1 series lead.
The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 23-10 in the fourth quarter including a 15-4 run that closed the quarter and forced overtime. The Thunder’s 10 points were tied for the third-fewest in a postseason fourth quarter since 2005. Over the duration of the fourth quarter and overtime the Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 38-17 thanks to an 18-to-8 points-in-the-paint discrepancy and a +4 turnover ratio.
During that span Randolph scored seven of his 21 points and boarded seven of his 21 rebounds. Randolph not only recorded his first career 20-20 postseason game, but he is the first player to do so this postseason. It's also the first 20-20 game in the postseason by a Grizzlies player, and Randolph becomes the first NBA player to do so since Carlos Boozer had 22 and 20 against the Denver Nuggets last season while with the Utah Jazz.
As well as things went for Randolph and the Grizzlies in the game’s final two frames, the same can’t be said for the Thunder’s dynamic duo as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for eight points (3-of-17 FG) over the final 17 minutes.
Durant received a touch on 40.6 percent of Oklahoma City’s 32 possessions over the fourth quarter and overtime period, but was just 2-for-10. He may have forced some looks as there were two stretches where the league’s leading scorer did not touch the ball for over two minutes on offense. There were also five possessions where Westbrook shot without passing.
Entering Game 3, Durant had been tremendous in the final five minutes of regulation and OT, shooting over 50 percent from the floor compared to just 26 percent for Westbrook. Both struggled down the stretch on Saturday, combining to go 0-for-10, with the lone points coming on a pair of Westbrook free throws.
Overall Durant finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds while Westbrook recorded 23 points and 12 assists. He also had seven turnovers, including five in the fourth quarter and OT. It's the seventh time this postseason that Durant and Westbrook have each scored at least 20 points, the highest total of any set of teammates.
Game 4 is back in Memphis where the Grizzlies are 4-0 this postseason (0-6 all-time entering 2011). And if that wasn’t daunting enough consider that in the history of the NBA playoffs, there have been 178 instances in which a best-of-7 series was tied at one after two games. When the home team wins Game 3, it has gone onto win the series 70.7 percent of the time.