Baby Blues Monday
Grizzlies 111 - Thunder 105
Zach Randolph and Kevin Durant started game two by trading a series of missed shots on a mutually sluggish start to Game 2. Conley brought some life to the offense with a nifty reverse lay up and Coach Dave Joerger's task of switching Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince on the Durant assignment worked wonders, keeping the Thunder to 17% FG.
Russell Westbrook was the only bright spot in the OKC offense, while the Grizzlies shared the points. Tony Allen even gave them some good breathing room with smart offensive decisions, going for the easy lay ups a couple of times.
The Grizz end the quarter with 47% shooting and an 8 point lead, light years away from Game 1.
The Thunder started to gain some steam at the start of the quarter, but the Grizz defense stayed strong and intimidating with some mean mugs by Ed Davis and Tony Allen. Derek Fisher provided that off-the-bench play that has Grizz fans annoyed out of their mind. Ed Davis got a good spark, even if he missed a rebound or a shot, he made the Serge Ibaka play hard for it, and consequently, got two solid blocks on Davis.
Ibaka started the quarter on the Westbrook plan and even though the Grizz contested, he was still on a roll. To end the half, Westbrook was still shooting the lights out of the arena, finishing with 17 points even with Courtney Lee providing solid, but not spectacular, defense against him.
Moment of the Half
Tony Allen finished his third steal by swiping a rebound away from two Thunder players and Fed 50 for another basket.
Player of the Half: Tony Allen
The Grizz need The Grindfather to play well and to play smart. His defense on Durant contributed to KD shooting 3 for 8, while TA pulled 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals and only one turnover.
Ibaka continued his roll from the end of the half and Mike Conley kept moving on the perimeter with some great slashes inside. Courtney Lee started the quarter early with a rolled foot,and Tayshaun Prince continued to appear to struggle, calling to be pulled after a few minutes.
Durant continued to be shut down by Tony Allen. But the rest of the Grizz had no answers for Westbrook and Ibaka.
As the Thunder tied up the score, the Grizzlies kept up the pressure and got up three with a great backdoor cut from Tony Allen. Mike Miller off the bench let it fly for a three and then another good assist to Zbo on a fast break.
Courtney Lee returned from the locker room and the Grizzlies matched the Thunder's small ball lineup with the insertion of Beno Udrih. Udrih improved greatly over his game one and made good shooting decisions. The break that Lee had seemed to have helped as he knocked a three pointer to go into a break.
The small ball lineup kept the lead, taking advantage of Ibaka on the bench. But once he returned, the Westbrook-Ibaka waves just kept coming. Another physical block from Ibaka lead to a Westbrook dunk off a breakaway. Durant's shooting also started to find a groove, right at the time that threatened the Grizzlies.
Grizz kept pouring into the paint, with Zbo and Gasol getting low. And the Thunder kept returning fire.
Mike Miller pulled ahead off a great Conley rebound and Let It Fly for three.
After it seemed it was sealed, Durant hit a three pointer falling out of bounds and got an and-one. After a foul on Conley, he missed the first shot, leaving only a two point cushion. Kendrick Perkins, with only his second basket of the game, tied up the game at the end of regulation with a put back.
Zbo hit the first points and the Grizz caught a break on a Westbrook offensive foul to regain some momentum and Courtney Lee with a runner kept it going.
Randolph answered Durant, but missed a crucial and-one. Grizzlies defense continued to stifle, but the thrust of the game pulled in either direction leading to any possibility. A wild sequence leading from a Westbrook rebound off a Randolph shot had a loose ball scrum with the Grizzlies pulling away possession.
Thabo Sefolosha pulled away a steal from Conley with under 40 seconds. The next possession had Gasol foul out on a shooting foul on Durant. KD missed his first FT, but tied it up with 35 seconds remaining.
Tony Allen got defenders in the air to get an extra move to Randolph so they could take the lead at two. Ibaka was called for a travel, winding the clock down further, a dangerous pass from Udrih lead to Courtney Lee knocking down two FTs and making it a two possession game.
Moment of the Half
Mike Miller's three pointer from the top of the key with just under a minute left in the game was everything that you want out of a Mike Miller performance.
Player of the Game
Zach Randolph lead all Grizzlies with 24 points and took over at the end of the 4th and in Overtime, taking the Grit n Grind on his back and even ending the game with the finally two FTs to seal it entirely.