The Grizzlies call it grit and grind, and it got them through another ugly game.
Marc Gasol scored 20 points and hit 2 free throws with 1:03 left to put Memphis ahead to stay, and the Memphis Grizzlies held off Oklahoma City 87-81 to take a 2-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.
Gasol scored 16 in the 2nd half as Memphis stayed unbeaten at home in the postseason.
The Grizzlies pulled out the win in a choppy performance for both teams following a 3-day layoff since Game 2 with the Thunder beating them at their own game, dominating the boards and in the paint. After struggling at the free throw line in Oklahoma City, the Grizzlies hit all 6 at the line in the final 1:03 to clinch it.
”We just stayed after it like we’ve done all year long,” Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins asserted. ”It’s not always pretty. Tonight wasn’t pretty, though it was pretty for us because we got the win.”
Hollins wants one more home win for a franchise in its 2nd Western semifinal in 2 seasons. The Memphis Grizzlies lost to Oklahoma City in 7 games in 2011 after splitting Games 3 and 4 in Memphis. But they’re 18-1 at home since Feb. 8.
”I’d rather take my probabilities with where we’re sitting now and try and win all our home games,” Hollins declared. ”We got a long way to go, and we got to keep battling.”
Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but just 2 in fourth quarter. A 91 percent free throw shooter in the regular season, Durant missed 2 with 39.3 seconds left. Durant also had 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
”It’s frustrating, but we can’t hang our heads,” Durant said. ”We have to keep playing and keep improving. We just have to gain from it. We have to embrace the hard times and get better from it. I believe in my teammates.”
Though his colleagues, with Russell Westbrook out with a knee injury, need to give him more help.
The Thunder had their worst scoring and shooting performance this postseason. Reggie Jackson had 16 points for Oklahoma city, and Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka each added 13. Jackson and Ibaka also grabbed 10 rebounds apiece.
Durant went 3 of 11 from the floor in the 2nd half, and his teammates went a combined 23 of 69 for the game. Tony Allen had his best game in this series, scoring 14 points for Memphis. Jerryd Bayless added 11. Zach Randolph scored only 8 points but had 10 rebounds.
”It was definitely a good feeling as we didn’t play the best Grizzlies’ basketball that we know we will play as a team,” Randolph declared. Basketball lines.
Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks insisted he liked the shots his Thunder took, although they didn’t get as many wide-open looks beyond the arc as they did in the first 2 games.
”We are hopeful that we get those same shots in the next game,” Brooks said.