Defense, Bench Scoring Fuel Thunder Win
Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:23 pm
News On 6
Originally Published: May 3, 2011 10:39 PM CDTGrant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder now have some momentum heading out to Memphis.
OKC recovered from a stunning second round opener with a 111-102 win over the Grizzlies on Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Arena.
While it was only the second game of the series, many were considering it a must-win for the Thunder, who will now hit the road for two games.
There were a number of storylines in Oklahoma City’s dominant win, but perhaps the biggest was the Thunder’s effective defense against big man Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
The two combined for 54 points and 23 boards in Game 1, but were held to a combined 28 points on Tuesday.
Both were essentially more-than-neutralized in the game, with Randolph shooting 2-for-3 from the field and Gasol 3-of-9.
The other big story was Oklahoma City’s bench scoring. The Thunder’s bench combined for 48 points in the game compared to 29 from the Grizzlies bench.
James Harden put in 21 points off the bench, joining a trio of OKC players (Durant, Westbrook) putting up 20-plus.
Eric Maynor added 15 on 6-of-7 shooting (3-of-4 from 3-point range).
OKC led by as many as 20 in the game. Memphis made a bit of an end-game run, pulling to within six points at one point.
But Oklahoma City’s solid shooting night – 53 percent overall and 57 percent from 3 – was too much for the Memphis defense to handle.
Point guard Mike Conley was the only effective scoring option for the Grizzlies, putting in 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka did not start the second half, staying in the locker room to take a look at what appeared to be a right knee injury.
Ibaka also appeared to twist a left ankle late in the game, and he limped off the court and into the locker room with assistance.
Ibaka and other players will have a little bit of time to rest up, however, because they now have more than three full days off before the games continue.
The series will head to the FedEx Forum in Memphis for Games 3 and 4.
Tipoff for Game 3 is set for 4 p.m. central time on Saturday, May 7.