The Memphis Grizzlies hold the Oklahoma City Thunder to just 36% shooting in game 3 as they take a 2-1, winning 87-81.
Both sides had an impressive defensive effort tonight, with Memphis leading 22-18 after the first. The Thunder finally retook the lead 45-44 with a minute left in the half and took that lead into the locker room behind 16 points from Durant.
The turning point came in the third as Memphis outscored the Thunder 22-15 to take a 6 point lead into the final quarter.
The Thunder slowly worked their way back cutting into the Memphis lead until Derek Fisher hit a three to tie is at 81 with two minutes remaining. The tie was broken up by two Marc Gasol free throws with 1:03 left.
The game was sealed about 30 seconds later when down by 4, Durant missed two key free throws to bring the Thunder back into the game.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
OKC missed a golden opportunity to win tonight and a lot of it had to do with their inability to capitalize on the Grizzlies' mistakes. Despite their performance in the first half, The Thunder were only able to take a one point lead into halftime.
The Thunder actually lead the rebounding margin 25-20 at the half, and only allowed the Grizzlies 2 offensive rebounds, limiting their second chance points. The Grizzlies only ended the night with 5 offensive rebounds, a drastic improvement for the Thunder, but it was not enough to come away with the victory.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
Scott Brooks opted to play smallball for much of the game, with Kevin Martin and Derek Fisher getting the minutes over starters Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha. Despite the potentially mismatch, Marc Gasol had a poor shooting night, going 6-14, but still came away with 20 points. The Thunder weren't drastically outplayed, but they're poor shooting performance meant they weren't able to take advantage of Memphis' off night.
Serge Ibaka's shooting woes continued for much of the game, Ibaka went 6-17 for 13 points. In the pregame, a lot was said about how Ibaka is pretty much the Thunder's second offensive option and they simply can't have him shooting as poorly as he did. Derek Fisher went 3-8 for 8 points, and just had some poor shot selections, including a long 3 down by 4 with 30 seconds left.
What does this game tell us about what to expect for game 4?
Tonight's loss game four is a must win for the Thunder. The Thunder need to take one on the Grizzlies home floor and then defend their own home court if they want to win. Durant disappeared in the fourth again, only scoring 2 and uncharacteristically missing 2 free throws down the stretch. This has happened numerous times during this post-Westbrook playoff run, and simply put the Thunder have no chance if Durant disappears in the fourth. The big question is if guarding Gasol as worn down Durant to be unable to perform in the fourth.
Brooks will likely opt to go smallball again in game three and the Grizzlies will likely pound it into Randolph and Gasol to try to exploit the mismatch, how Gasol and Randolph perform in those situations will determine the series.
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 25 points, 11 rebounds
Thunder Down Under: Reggie Jackson, 16 points, 10 rebounds.
Thunder Blunder: Thabo Sefolosha, 2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 turnover.
Thunder Plunderer: Marc Gasol, 20 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists.
Next game: Game 4 @ Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, May 13th @ 8:30 PM CT ( leads 2-1)
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