Grizzlies edged the Thunder, 111—105 to square their Western Conference opening round playoff series at one-game apiece, while LA Clippers beat Golden State Warriors 138—98.
The Memphis Grizzlies had to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder twice Monday night and came through, but only just.
Zach Randolph scored eight of his 25 points in overtime, including the go—ahead lay-up with 26 seconds remaining as the Grizzlies edged the Thunder, 111—105 to square their Western Conference opening round playoff series at one-game apiece.
“It was a tremendous game to be a part of,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “The game was never over. There were a lot of great plays not the ball just going in but loose balls, passion playoff basketball. We never gave up, we just kept fighting. All and all, we’re happy to be 1—1.” Mike Conley had 19 points with 12 assists while Spaniard Marc Gasol and Courtney Lee scored 16 points each for the seventh-seeded Grizzlies, who rebounded from Saturday’s 100—86 loss to steal home-court advantage away from the second seeds.
“We scrapped all the way to the end,” Lee said. “We had a couple of chances to win it in regulation and they made some tough shots. But we stuck with it, executed down the stretch and came away with the win.” The Grizzlies host the next two contests with the pivotal game three set for Thursday night at the FedEx Forum, where they have won 14 games in a row.
“It’s basically going to be a slugfest. We’re going to pound it, they’re going to run it,” said Grizzlies defensive specialist Tony Allen, who had eight points. “Whoever comes up with the most stops is going to win the game.” Kevin Durant had 36 points and 11 rebounds and Russell Westbrook collected 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who shot a frosty 39.8 per cent from the field in the loss.
“We put ourselves in a position to win the game but they made more shots than us,” a dejected Durant said. “That’s the name of the game, so we’re not panicking at all. We have to get ready for another dogfight.” Memphis led 98—93 in the closing seconds and looked to have the game wrapped up but had to survive a wild finish.
“We weren’t celebrating when we were up by five,” Joerger said.
“There were too many timeouts left, too many possessions left.” Durant knocked down a near impossible fall—away 3—point heave from the left corner out of a busted play while falling into the first row after getting fouled by Gasol. He calmly made the ensuing free throw to draw the Thunder within a point with 13.8 seconds remaining. “That was a special play he made but we never got discouraged,” Allen said. “We knew there was a lot of basketball left and we wanted to close it out in Grizzlies’ fashion.” After Conley made one of the two free throws, Westbrook went for the win but threw up a wild three—point try from the left side. Kendrick Perkins grabbed the miss and dropped in a lay-up at the buzzer to send the game into overtime knotted at 99.
“We stayed confident,” Allen said. “We knew those guys were going to make runs but we had to weather the storm together.” The extra session was knotted at 105, when Allen flashed in the lane and zipped a pass underneath to Randolph for a wide open lay-up to put the Grizzlies up by two points with 25 seconds left.
“Tony made a great play and Zach made a great finish,” Joerger said.
Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka was whistled for a travelling violation, giving the ball back to the Grizzlies.
After Lee made both free throws, Durant missed a 3—pointer with nine seconds left. Randolph grabbed the rebound and hit two more from the stripe to wrap up the win.
“What a great game! Both teams really competed and left everything on the floor,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Give them credit. They’re a very good basketball team. We knew that going into the series.”
LA CLIPPERS BEAT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS
Elsewhere, LA Clippers beat Golden State Warriors 138—98. Blake Griffin poured in a playoff career high of 35 points and the third—seeded Clippers crushed the visiting sixth—seeded Warriors to knot their Western Conference first round playoff series at one game apiece. “Defence was where it was at all night long,” Griffin said.
Danny Granger scored 15 points, Chris Paul and reserve Darren Collison had 12 points with 10 assists apiece for the Clippers, who rebounded from Saturday’s 109—105 loss with their most lopsided playoff victory in franchise history.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points for the Warriors, who committed 26 turnovers leading to 27 Clippers points in the beat—down.
“We were bad,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “It’s disappointing. That was a desperate basketball team and we didn’t match their energy.”
Golden State hosts the next two contests with swing game 3 Thursday night in the best—of—seven series.