National Basketball Association
Oklahoma City at Memphis
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, April 24, 2014
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
The Memphis Grizzlies swiped homecourt advantage away from Oklahoma City and attempt to take a 2-1 series lead when they host the Thunder on Wednesday in the seven-game Western Conference first-round series. The seventh-seeded Grizzlies recorded a 111-105 overtime victory in Game 2 to avoid a hole and are in a good position with the next two games being at home. Kevin Durant is averaging 34.5 points in the series for second-seeded Oklahoma City.
Durant kept the Thunder alive with a late four-point play in regulation in Game 2 as Oklahoma City eventually forced overtime before Zach Randolph scored eight of his 25 points in the extra session to help the Grizzlies prevail. Durant scored 36 points but it took him 28 field-goal attempts (making 12 shots) to get there as he was hounded throughout by Memphis defensive stalwart Tony Allen. “It is typical defense,” Durant told reporters. “They’ve been playing it all season. We got to move the ball a little bit better.” The Grizzlies scored 25 more points in Game 2 than they did in the opener.
8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Oklahoma (Oklahoma City), SportSouth (Memphis)
ABOUT THE THUNDER:
Oklahoma City was eliminated from last season’s playoffs by the Grizzlies and the players are very aware that they lost in both visits to Memphis. The Thunder averaged just 89 points in the two losses – played without Russell Westbrook – and know they can’t afford to lose both games this time around. “As we go out on the road, it’s a great opportunity to develop the type of composure, poise, concentration and focus that you have to have in the playoffs,” veteran guard Derek Fisher told reporters. Fisher is one of the players who needs to step up his game as he has yet to make a 3-pointer while averaging 5.5 points in the series.ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES:
Allen has averaged 34 minutes in the first two games with small forward Tayshaun Prince dealing with an illness and his defensive prowess being needed. When guarding Durant, he has been relentless with applying pressure and trying to keep the ball from getting into the hands of the Oklahoma City superstar. Allen doesn’t understand the big deal his suffocating defense received in the aftermath of Game 2. “That was just blue collar,” Allen told reporters. “I’m no star, I’m blue collar.” Allen is averaging 10.5 points, seven rebounds and 2.5 steals in the series.BUZZER BEATERS
1. Memphis is 4-1 at home in the playoffs against the Thunder, with Oklahoma City’s lone win being a triple-overtime thriller in the second round in 2011.
2. Randolph (23 points, 8.5 rebounds) and PG Mike Conley (17.5 points, 11.5 assists) were solid for Memphis over the first two games.
3. Westbrook is averaging 26 points and 8.5 rebounds but is just 1-of-12 from 3-point range in the series.PREDICTION:
Grizzlies 97, Thunder 94
Stats and Records