NBA Playoffs - Game 3 Recap: Thunder 81, Grizzlies 87

Jamie Squire

The Grizzlies take a 2-1 series league on a Saturday afternoon doozy that somehow ended with a win

In game 2, the Grizzlies somehow pulled out a win despite Kevin Durant's performance of 36 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. When I went to bed that night, I thought we would have a hard time pulling out a win without star-stunning performances in game 2 like Mike Conley's unreal production and protection.

Halftime rolled around and the Grizzlies were playing horrible ball. Zach Randolph could only claim 6 points, Mike Conley 7, and Marc Gasol 4. The leading scorer, weirdly, was Tony Allen, with 11 points. Despite the lack of offense, though, one could look up at the scoreboard and see something strange: the Grizzlies were only down by one.

I don't fully understand how that happened, and those who claim they do are straight-up lying. Of course it helps Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha were held to a total of ZERO points, but Durant still had 16 at the half. I'm going to go out on a limb here and declare our mysterious one-point deficit to a combination of tight defense, poor Thunder shooting, and an incredible home atmosphere. Our own Kevin Lipe here at GBB was at the game - I'm sure he'll be able to comment on the atmosphere at a later time.

The third quarter wasn't much different. The quarter was characterized by more grit-and-grind ball - except the fact of a big, friendly Spaniard turning it on. Gasol put up 12 points in third quarter and reminded his opponents why he is considered one of the best. The 12 points weren't freebies, either - several times my mouth dropped because of his trademark in-the-face 15-foot faders. And yes- you betcha each was followed by the famous Gasol grunt.

Especially of note in the third, too, is the defense on Kevin Durant: it wasn't until the 3:40 mark in the third when Kevin Durant scored his first second-half point. Something was in the Gatorade in the Grizz locker room. Or maybe there was just an incoherent Tony Allen pep talk that fired everybody up.

The game took a turning point here, when the Grizzlies headed into the fourth with a six point lead. The Forum watched in the fourth as the Thunder went on a run, picking away at the lead, capitalized by a Derek Fisher three to tie the game at 81 with two minutes remaining.

The tie was broken up by our Spaniard with two Marc Gasol free throws with 1:03 left.

Then, down by four with 30 seconds left, Kevin Durant missed two consecutive free throws to prevent the Thunder from keeping pace in the game. Keep in mind here, guys - Kevin Durant is a 91 percent free-throw shooter in the regular season. He missed two here with 30 seconds left in a key playoff-moment. 91 percent.

Man, now I REALLY can't wait for Kevin to get back and comment on the atmosphere of the Forum this afternoon.

The boys in blue kept pace and managed to hold onto the lead to take a 87-81 win to secure a 2-1 series lead against the Western Conference juggernauts of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

If we can look that ugly and still manage to pull out a win, we've got a good team on our hands, guys. Fasten your seatbelts.

Game 4 is Monday night at 8:30 PM CST in Memphis. Lets grind her home.

Of Note:

  • The Grizzlies find themselves with a 2-1 series lead against the Thunder: the same exact position at the end of three games in the 2011 playoff series. The Thunder went onto win in seven in 2011.
  • The Thunder led rebounding 25-20 at the half, and only allowed the Grizzlies 2 offensive boards in the half. The Grizzlies ended the night with 5 offensive rebounds. And again - somehow still won the game.
  • Ibaka still can't get it together, shooting 6-of-17 with 13 points. From my point of view, the Thunder aren't going to win this series if he keeps shooting this poorly.
  • The Grizzlies held the Thunder to 36% shooting in game 3.

Game Notes:

3RD QUARTER

  • DURANT DIDN'T SCORE UNTIL 3:40 IN THE THIRD
  • GRIT AND GRIND QUARTER
  • HURTING ON OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS
  • GRIZZ LEADING 66-60
  • DURANT FINISHING WITH 23 POINTS AT THE END OFTHE THIRD QUARTER
  • 12 POINTS FOR GASOL IN THE THIRD

4TH QUARTER

  • KEYON DOOLING STARTING WITH A STATEMENT - THREE POINTER
  • GASOL BENCHED WITH 7:30 LEFT IN 4TH
  • QUINCY PONDEXTER WITH A HUGE HUGE HUGE THREE POINTER WITH 6:30 LEFT
  • DURANT'S STILL A FORCE - WE CAN'T STOP GRINDING
  • lineup: gasol-pondexter-allen-conley-randolph with 5:40 left
  • 5:30 LEFT TO GO, 6 POINT GAME
  • 2 POINT GAME WITH LITTLE OVER THREE MINUTES LEFT
  • 18 POINTS GASOL ON 6-14, 8 POINTS ZBO ON 4-12
  • ZBO GETS BENCHED WITH 1 MINUTE LEFT
  • MIKE CONLEY CLUTCH FREE THROWS, HITS 2 OF 2 WITH 50 SECONDS LEFT OFF CLUELESS FOUL FROM JACKSON

Overall

  • GRIZZLIES GET DOMINATED ON THE OFFENSIVE GLASS 14-5
  • GASOL: 4 POINTS IN THE FIRST, 16 IN THE SECOND
  • MIKE CONLEY GETTING SHUT DOWN PRETTY MUCH ALL GAME
  • KEVIN DURANT 35 REBOUNDS IN THIS SERIES - NONE ON OFFENSIVE END TODAY
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