With 3:53 to play in third quarter Saturday the Fed Ex Forum in Memphis was just about devoid of sound except for the basketball slapping against the hardwood as the Memphis Grizzlies trailed the Oklahoma City Thunder 70-54. The “Cinderella” Grizzlies who had topped the San Antonio Spurs in a first round upset and had knocked off the Thunder in game one of their current series looked as if they had fallen back to earth through that point in the game.
Oklahoma City had made them look dazed and confused for most of the contest. However there was still a spark that was burning within the squad as they slowly and methodically dug themselves out of the hole they were in. They would tie the contest late in the fourth before briefly taking the lead but the Thunder knotted up the score sending the game into overtime. Memphis came out of the gate strong in the extra period defeating Oklahoma City 101-93 taking a 2-1 advantage in their Western Conference Semi-Final series.
Zach Randolph had a stellar night on the floor racking up a double-double with 21 points and 21 boards which is the most rebounds ever grabbed in a game in team history. Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo each scored 18 points in the Grizzlies victory. Russell Westbrook had a double-double with 23 points in the loss while Kevin Durant also recorded a double-double including 22 points.
Memphis would hold the upper hand at the conclusion of the first as Mayo hit a bucket at the buzzer making it a 22-20 ball game. The score remained close for the early portion of the second until Oklahoma City scored ten unanswered points putting them on top 40-31 with 5:28 remaining in the period. The Thunder would still have the edge as the contest reached the half with the score 51-43.
After hitting their low point earlier in the third the Grizzlies started to get themselves back into the game as Conley drove the lane putting the rock through the hole and cutting his team’s deficit to 76-63 at the end of the period. Memphis would then shut down Oklahoma City in the final period of regulation allowing them to score just 10 points in 12 minutes of play. With the Grizzlies leading 86-84 Westbrook hit a pair at the line and the contest would need to go to overtime to be decided. Memphis would score the first six points in the extra period and the Thunder never recovered as the Grizzlies held on for the win.
Randolph becomes a member of the “20-20 Club” as he scored 21 points, 21 boards, 2 assists and a block in his team’s come from behind victory. Conley had 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block while Mayo also put up 18 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Marc Gasol added 16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 assists and a steal while Tony Allen chipped in 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block and a steal.
Westbrook knocked down 23 points, dished off 12 assists, 6 rebounds and 2 steals while Durant had 22 points, 12 rebounds and 1 assist. Serge Ibaka scored 14 points while James Harden came off the bench with 12 points for the Thunder. Memphis takes a 2-1 lead in the series and the two teams meet again on Monday for game four.