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NBA Playoffs: Gentleman's Sweep! Grizzlies Beat Thunder to Advance to Western Conference Finals

The Memphis Grizzlies took Game 5 of the series to knock off the Oklahoma City Thunder and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history.

Ronald Martinez

The Memphis Grizzlies, Your Memphis Grizzlies, Our Memphis Grizzlies are headed to the Western Conference Finals. Get on your dagum feet!

Oklahoma City put up a tremendous fight in this game, and all series long, but without Westbrook, they were just no match for the Grizzlies defense, and fell tonight in the final game 88-84. Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 28 points and 14 rebounds. The big fella couldn't be stopped all night long.

The Thunder came out strong, on offense and defense, getting a quick 3 from Serge Ibaka and a rare make from Kendrick Perkins while keeping Memphis scoreless for almost the first three minutes. Kevin Durant, who was 5-21 in the game for 21 points, scored only one bucket and four total points in the period, but it didn't matter, as the Thunder would lead by five after one.

In the second quarter, the Grizzlies controlled everything. The Grizzlies started the quarter on an 11-1 run, led by Jerryd Bayless and Zach Randolph, and would outscore the Thunder 32-15 in the quarter, and they would lead by 12 at the break.

Memphis continued to dominate in the third. The lead would stretch all the way to 14, capped off by this MONSTER dunk by Tayshaun Prince, who just did disgusting things to three Thunder players.

After the dunk though, pride kicked it. Oklahoma City closed the quarter on a 16-4 run, cutting the lead down to two at 64-62.

Memphis would jump right back out to a big lead in the fourth, however, and had the Thunder on the ropes, leading by 12 with just over three minutes left to go in the game, and the Grizzlies would then take a timeout.[1] With their season on the line, the Thunder would convert four dunks and a Derek Fisher 3 in just under 3 minutes to pull within 5 with just over 20 seconds to go. And then, the foul game started. The Grizzlies, who were 21/23 shooting free throws at that point in the game, would miss three of four down the stretch. Kevin Durant got a clean look at a jumper to tie the game, but tonight just wasn't his night. Tony Allen would secure the rebound and drain two free throws to ice the game, vaulting the Grizzlies to the first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history.

Game Notes:

  1. First and foremost, HUGE shout out to the Thunder crowd/fans. Standing and chanting "O-K-C! O-K-C!" after your team just suffered a devastating upset in the playoffs is classy. I was in the forum last year after the Clippers eliminated the Grizzlies, and everyone just quietly got the heck out of there. Not in OKC. Great show of fandom by those guys.
  2. Marc Gasol was 2-10 heading into the fourth quarter, and then made all of his last three shots to help the Grizzlies prevail.
  3. All of Twitter and GrizzNation owes Quincy Pondexter an apology. Q, who was shooting 42% from 3 before his injury, really struggled the first 15-20 games or so after returning. He couldn't find his stroke, and labored all over the court, and people were quick to crucify him for it. He's finally healthy, or atleast much closer to it, and he's playing better than ever. He shot 50% from 3 in this series. And this is after the free throw incident in Game 1. His handle is @QuincyPondexter. Get at him.
  4. Has anyone started a drinking game where you drink every time an announcer or broadcaster mispronounces a Grizzlies player's name? I suppose not, since I haven't read about a lot of people dying from alcohol poisoning. #Connelly

The Grizzlies will get a few days off, as they wait to see who the winner of the Spurs/Warriors series will be. Until then, celebrate this win, Grizzlies fans. This team has put the city on it's back, and the ride has been incredible thus far. There have been ups, downs, lulls, highs, monster dunks, miserable fast breaks, and Austin Daye, but it's been entertaining all the way. Buckle up, baby, because it's about to jump to a whole nother level.


[1] I specifically point this out, because Ryan was LIVID at this timeout, and rightfully so. The crowd was dead, the players looked defeated, and the clock was ticking fast. The timeout gave the Thunder time to regroup, and nearly cause the game to slip away.