The Grizzlies knock around Thunder to even NBA series
OKLAHOMA CITY / NEW YORK - Agence France-Presse
Conley (R) drives against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the second half of their Game 1 NBA Western Conference semi-final playoff basketball game in Oklahoma. REUTERS photoMike Conley had a go-ahead three pointer down the stretch as Memphis went on a 10-3 run to close the game and beat Oklahoma City 99-93 in game two of their NBA playoff series. Conley, who finished one assist short of a triple double, drained a clutch shot from beyond the arc with 1:58 left in the fourth for the Grizzlies, who levelled the best-of-seven series at 1-1.
“That was huge. We needed one,” Conley said. “We just wanted to steal one and go back to the grind house. We feel really comfortable there so hopefully this will turn the series around.” The series now shifts to Memphis for game three Saturday night.
Conley had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in Tuesday’s contest in front of a crowd of 18,203 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. “This team goes as I go,” Conley said. “If I play well, the other guys seem to play well so I just try my best to play aggressive and be assertive early and it really worked.”
Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph finished with 24 and 15 points, respectively, for Memphis who dominated 23-6 on second-chance points. The Grizzlies also scored 20 more points in the paint in a game that featured 27 lead changes.
Like Conley, Thunder star Kevin Durant also nearly had a triple-double, compiling 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Derek Fisher scored 19 points and Kevin Martin was limited to six points on just two-of-11 shooting after scoring 25 points in each of the last two games for Oklahoma City.
“We were fortunate to get the win,” said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins.
With under two minutes left, the Grizzlies took a 92-90 lead when Gasol passed to Conley for an open three-pointer.
Durant shot long on a three-point attempt from the left side and then the combination of Gasol and Conley connected again. Conley hit an 18-footer with just over one minute left after Gasol set a pick for him at the top of the key.
Durant turned the ball over and missed from long range on the next two Oklahoma City possessions to end any chance of a Thunder rally down the stretch.
“We had good poise defensively,” Conley said. “We started to get stops.
“Our poise under pressure and our ability to execute at the end of the game really helped us tonight.”
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony busted loose to score 32 points and New York shut down Indiana in the final 15 minutes to post a 105-79 win to even their Eastern Conference series at one game each.
Anthony, who came into game two shooting just 37 percent in the postseason, scored 22 points in the fourth quarter against the mistake-prone Pacers at Madison Square Garden.
“I just thought in that fourth quarter our pace offensively was like old times again,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.
The Pacers shot just 25 percent in the fourth and were hampered by turnovers, committing a total of 21 that New York converted into 32 points.
The second round playoff series now switches to Indianapolis for Saturday’s game three at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
The Knicks reversed a two point deficit by going on a dynamic 36-4 run that led to a 98-68 lead with 3:30 left to play.
During that 12-minute stretch, the Pacers failed to make a single field goal. They missed on 14 consecutive attempts from the floor until Orlando Johnson drained one from beyond the arc with just over three minutes left.
Iman Shumpert added 15 points on seven-of-11 shooting to help the Knicks rebound from a game one loss, 102-95. Raymond Felton also scored 14 points in the victory in front of a crowd of 19,033.
Paul George led Indiana with 20 points but had only five in the second half.
David West and George Hill finished with 13 and 12, respectively, in the loss.
A few Knicks players had said they felt the Pacers went after Anthony’s injured shoulder in game one, while the Knicks admitting they were outplayed. Sore shoulder or not, Anthony made sure that didn’t happen again. “Melo just caught fire,” the Pacers’ George said. “He found opportunities and found mismatches and he was just being aggressive.