Thunder Defense Pushes Grizzlies to Brink with Victory


Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:23 pm
By: News On 6


Originally Published: May 11, 2011 10:37 PM CDT

Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY – Talk about a change of pace from the previous game.

Just two days after a triple overtime contest with through-the-roof stats, the Thunder buckled down and came away with a 99-72 victory on Wednesday.

Oklahoma City now leads the series 3-2 and is one game away from clinching a spot in the Western Conference Finals against Dallas.

Game 6 will take place in Memphis, and Game 7 (if necessary) would be back in Oklahoma City.

Fatigue certainly could have played a factor, with both teams having played on into the following morning in Game 4.

But regardless, Oklahoma City’s defense came through in a big way, holding Memphis to 36 percent shooting from the floor. The Grizzlies also shot 2-of-8 from beyond the arc.

Perhaps the biggest adjustment from the other games in the series was rebounding.

Memphis had previously hurt OKC with offensive rebounding but was held to eight offensive boards (33 overall).

The Thunder racked up a massive rebounding margin, picking up 50 total boards.

Both teams started slowly offensively, but Oklahoma City was particularly rough. It took the Thunder four minutes to score their first points, and nearly eight minutes into the game, they still had just four total points.

After knotting the score by the end of the quarter, OKC’s big run came at the end of the second.

Down 31-30, the Thunder went on a 16-4 run to end the first half, and the lead only compounded from there.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 27 points with about four minutes remaining in the game.

Kevin Durant led all scorers despite scoring just 19 in 30 minutes of play. Daequan Cook put up 18 points off the bench in 18 minutes. Fan favorites Nate Robinson and Royal Ivey had three points each in the game’s waning minutes.

Marc Gasol was the only Grizzly in double figures with 15.

Oklahoma City will now have two chances to close out the series and advance.

Game 6 will take place in Memphis at 8 p.m. central on Friday.