Grizzlies Grades: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies - Game 3

Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Thunder 95 - Grizzlies 98 (OT)

STARTERS

Zach Randolph : (C+) 45 MIN | 16 PTS | 5-20 FG | 10 REB | 6 AST | 3 TO | +3

Zbo went away from what made his Game 2 a success, which was to pick and choose his spots, play off the ball a bit more, and finding easy opportunities by positioning himself at the right areas. Aside from some good high-low action with Gasol, his physical one-on-one battle with Perkins did not yield a positive result on the offensive end.

Tayshaun Prince : (B-) 24 MIN | 4 PTS | 2-5 FG | 2 REB | 1 AST | +4

A healthier looking Prince was able to take on more minutes last night, thus giving TA a bit more rest which paid dividends as the game went into OT. Prince's solid-but-unspectacular defense on Durant, sprinkled with small bits of offense, gives the Grizzlies another veteran defender to continue to add wear and tear on Durant's body, which could prove to be critical at the tail end of the series.

Marc Gasol : (B) 39 MIN | 14 PTS | 7-14 FG | 8 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | -7

Gasol used a number of face-up drives to good effect against a surprised Thunder defense, and also created plenty of opportunities with the ball in hand on the elbow. For some reason the offense stopped going through Gasol during the fateful fourth quarter stretch which almost cost the Grizzlies the game. Goods things will happen when Gasol touches the ball early in the shot clock, as the Thunder defense would simply have too many variables to cover against Big Spain's repertoire.

Mike Conley : (B+) 39 MIN | 20 PTS | 8-14 FG | 5 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 4 TO | +1

With a 17 point lead during the fourth quarter, Conley's strategy of playing to run down the clock instead of playing to score the basketball almost undid 40 minutes of excellent, gritty team work. Reminded me of the recent painful Heat and Warriors losses in which similar scenarios played out. These fourth quarter collapses simply cannot continue, as a team of Thunder's calibre will eventually make you pay. Conley redeemed himself during overtime, hitting a crucial three pointer and breakaway layup that gave the Grizzles a lead that they would never relinquish.

Courtney Lee : (B+) 36 MIN | 10 PTS | 3-9 FG | 3 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 TO | +3

If guarding Westbrook isn't difficult enough, Lee also switched to Durant on several occasions throughout the game and defended valiantly, not allowing either Westbrook or Durant to get too many easy looks. The Thunder's strategy for Game 3 was to play a two-man game with KD and Westbrook, but they did not anticipate that TA and Lee would switch seamlessly. Although giving up a ton of height and athletic ability, the fearless Grizzlies defense stood tall and came through for most of the game.

BENCH

Tony Allen : (B+) 31 MIN | 16 PTS | 8-15 FG | 9 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 2 TO | -1

After a 5-5 start from the field, TA was seemingly on track for another superhuman effort. However, the "trick" side of TA's game immediately started to rear its ugly head, as an irrationally confident TA started jacking up ill-advised long jumpers throughout the game, plus committing multiple fouls on three point shooters, with none as costly as the Westbrook four-point play that gave the Thunder a huge opportunity to steal the game. TA has been the absolute game-breaker of the series so far, he will just need to remind himself to only stick to his strengths, and the rest should play out nicely.

Beno Udrih : (A) 14 MIN | 12 PTS | 5-6 FG | 2 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 3 TO | +2

New game, same result. Bringing in a sniper from the bench has created all sorts of problems for the Thunder's defensive scheme, as Beno's lefty mid range attacking style is completely different to the likes of Conley, Lee and Miller. It would be impossible for Beno to stay this hot going forward, but being able to easily get a quality look during the half court set will definitely open up some more playmaking opportunities going forward. The seed has been planted.

Mike Miller : (C-) 20 MIN | 0 PTS | 0-3 FG | 0-2 3P | 3 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | +1

Highlight of Miller's night was getting sat on by Perkins for a good 5 seconds. Had excellent opportunities to drop long bombs during the fourth quarter to break the Grizzlies scoring drought, but simply could not cash in. Such is life of a long range shooter. Look for Miller to heat up again in game four.

Kosta Koufos : (A-) 17 MIN | 6 PTS | 3-6 FG | 5 REB | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | +9

Gasol's foul trouble finally gave Koufos a chance to show his value to the Grizzlies, as he immediately impacted the game with rebounds, a swat and a quick bucket. Quite preposterous that the media gave the Thunder bench an edge over the Grizzlies bench, guys like Koufos, Johnson and Davis can't really even get on the court and the Grizzlies bench are still outscoring the Thunder bench by 92-48 this series so far.

OPPONENT

Oklahoma City Thunder : (C+)

Heroic play, this time by Westbrook, again gave the Thunder an opportunity to steal Game 3 and completely demoralise the Grizzlies on their home floor, but it's just not to be. KD and Westbrook didn't do themselves any favours by taking questionable shots and making questionable decisions during OT. They simply ran themselves ragged by not involving any of their Thunder teammates. Even though the pressure from the media is immense for the Thunder get out of this series, all it takes it a Game 4 win and the Thunder will be in the box seat again, it will be a war of attrition come Saturday night.

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