Grizzlies beat Thunder to seize control of series
MEMPHIS, Tennessee - Mike Conley scored a team-high 24 points as Memphis rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat Oklahoma City 103-97 in overtime in game four of their second round playoff series Monday.
|Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (2nd L) gets tangled over a rebound with Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka (2nd R) of Congo, during first half action of Game 4 in the Western Conference semi-finals of the NBA playoffs in Memphis, Tennessee May 13, 2013. Photo by Lance Murphey, Reuters.|
All-star Zach Randolph had 23 points and 12 rebounds and Marc Gasol finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis who took a 3-1 series lead to put themselves on the brink of their first appearance in the NBA playoff semi-finals.
The Grizzlies, who started out in the league as the Vancouver Grizzlies before moving to Memphis in 2001, can wrap up the series in game five Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
This marked the fifth consecutive playoff win for Memphis at home and they are now 19-1 at the FedExForum in the last three months.
"You don't want to be down 17. But they came out firing," said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. "In the second half we got after them and were scratching and crawling.
Hollins said he tinkered with the lineup until he got the right combination of five players on the floor.
"Then we finally got a lineup of guys who were trying to win the game and not just trying to not lose the game," he said.
"We kept battling until we got a win. I am glad it didn't go to three overtimes."
Two years ago, Memphis gave up an 18-point lead against the Thunder in game four of the second round and wound up losing in triple-overtime. They blew a 2-1 series lead and eventually lost in seven games.
Oklahoma City had five players score in double figures for the first time in the series.
But their offense struggled at times, especially in overtime when they shot just one-of-eight.
Kevin Durant finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder who shot just 33 percent from the field after halftime.
Kevin Martin had 18 points in the loss.
Durant, who was the league's second-leading scorer in the regular season, finished runner-up to LeBron James in MVP voting this season.
The Grizzlies did a good job of forcing him to miss shots down the stretch.
Durant said he thought the Thunder got too complacent with the big lead.
"We came out playing well and once we got up by 17 it slowed down a bit," Durant said. "They got hot from three-point line in the second quarter. We got to keep fighting and take it one game at a time."
The Thunder have a huge task now. The defending Western Conference champions are one win away from elimination without one of their best offensive weapons, all-star Russell Westbrook, who injured his knee and is done for the season.
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