Marc Gasol finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds, including the game winning tip to put the Memphis Grizzlies atop the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime, 90-89.
The Thunder shot just 34% in the first half, including 1-7 from 3-pt line, and the Grizzlies led at the half 44-38. The third quarter began in a similar fashion, before Kevin Durant took over, scoring 17 straight points for the Thunder, and putting OKC back on top with a minute left in the third.
In a game that featured 14 lead changes, many occurring in the third and fourth quarters, neither offense picked up until the fourth quarter. With OKC on top late in the fourth, the Grizzles were able to set up Jerryd Bayless for the game tying three, sending it into overtime.
Both offenses vanished again in overtime, both OKC and Memphis combined for just 13 points in the extra 5 minutes. With under 30 seconds to go, Russell Westbrook hit a tough finger-roll to put the Thunder up one. The Grizzlies responded by pounding the ball into Zach Randolph, who missed the shot, but Marc Gasol was there for the putback with .8 seconds left, sealing the victory.
The Thunder were led by Kevin Durant with 32, Russell Westbrook with 20, and Kevin Martin with 17. Memphis was led by Mike Conley with 24, Jerryd Bayless with 20, and Zach Randolph with 15.
What is your initial reaction to tonight's result?
Despite the ending, this not a game you're going to tell your kids about. The first half was not pretty, and you could barely even call it basketball, and things got even worse in the third. Each team had just scored just 4 points midway through the 3rd. The biggest mistake of the night came on the final Thunder play, when the team apparently forgot they had a time out remaining with .8 seconds left, and in bounded the ball for a 3-quarters length shot at the buzzer, rather than taking the ball at midcourt for a catch and shoot.
What was, overall, the main reason why the Thunder lost?
You might remember the Thunder and Grizzlies epic 7-game series 2 seasons ago. One of the biggest turning points in that series was Brooks matching up Zach Randolph with Nick Collison defensively. Collison was able to hold Randolph to 6-23 on the night. Surprisingly, this didn't stop the Grizzlies from going to Randolph for the final play, instead of exploiting the matchup problem Gasol has created, but Marc Gasol was able to get involved anyways, putting in the last second tip for the Grizzlies and sealing the victory.
What was a key statistic to understanding the game?
Even though this game will go down as an buzzer beater, overtime win for the Grizzlies, both sides played terrible tonight. Both Memphis and OKC shot 36% FG tonight. The Grizzlies 2 big men, Gasol and Randolph, combined for 11-35 shooting tonight, forcing Memphis to rely on their guards for much of their offensive output. Ideally, this is exactly the type of game you'd want the Grizzlies to play, unfortunately, OKC wasn't able to have much success offensively, and wasn't able to take advantage of their defense tonight.
What does this game mean to the Thunder tonight and going forward?
For only the third time this year the Thunder have lost 2 in a row, they'll now go into Orlando attempting to prevent a 3 game losing streak, tonight's loss is devastating for the Thunder's hopes of grabbing the top spot in the west, as they remain 2.5 games behind the Spurs with only 13 games remaining.
The Thunder have also got to find a better way to use Derek Fisher. In his 12 games for the Thunder, 7 of them he's shot 0%, while 5 of them he's shot over 66%. The whole point of getting Fisher that he was suppose to provide some veteran leadership, and be a consistent contributor, until now, we've hardly seen the latter.
|Final - 3.20.2013||1||2||3||4||OT 1||Total|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||15||23||19||26||6||89|
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 32 points, 8 rebounds.
Thunder Down Under: Nick Collison, 4 points, 5 rebounds
Thunder Blunder: Derek Fisher, 0 points, 11 minutes of nothing.
Thunder Plunderer: Jerryd Bayless, 20 points
Next game: @ Orlando Magic, on Friday, March 22, @ 6:00 pm CDT
If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.