Oklahoma City wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, May 1st
Game 2: Tuesday, May 3rd
Game 3: Saturday, May 7th
Game 4: Monday, May 9th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 11th
Game 6: Friday, May 13th
Game 7: Sunday, May 15th

Thunder 83

(55-27, 25-16 away)

Grizzlies 95

(46-36, 30-11 home)

    Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

    9:00 PM ET, May 13, 2011

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 21 33 14 1583
    MEM 23 21 28 2395

    Top Performers

    Okc: R. Westbrook 27 Pts, 3 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Mem: Z. Randolph 30 Pts, 13 Reb, 2 Blk

    Zach Randolph, Grizzlies force Game 7 vs. Thunder

    Associated Press

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Grizzlies may have finally figured out how to keep the Oklahoma City Thunder from smothering Zach Randolph.

    O.J. Mayo moved back into the starting lineup, and his scoring threat from the outside gave Randolph enough room to score 30 points and grab 13 rebounds Friday night as the Grizzlies avoided elimination by beating the Thunder 95-83 to push their Western Conference semifinal to a deciding Game 7.

    "It definitely made a difference," Randolph said. "O.J. can knock down some shots from the outside. It opened up a little bit tonight in the paint. We had great spacing. They've got to guard our perimeters, Mike [Conley] and O.J., so it definitely did make a difference tonight."

    Mayo moved from the starting lineup to the bench at the start of January, though he did start the final two games of the regular season with the Grizzlies resting for the postseason. But the Thunder had held Randolph to 31.9 percent shooting since he scored 34 points in Game 1 of this series, so coach Lionel Hollins started Mayo in place of Sam Young.

    "They were just clamping down on Zach with two or three guys," Hollins said. "We felt like if we put a shooter out there they would have to honor him, and they did. Juice got some shots early on. He got some drives. You have to have some balance outside as well as inside. I just felt like in my gut that was the move to make."

    Now the Grizzlies and Thunder will play the first Game 7 in these NBA playoffs on Sunday with the winner advancing to face the well-rested Dallas Mavericks in the West finals.

    "This is where we want to be playing, Game 7, that one game to get to the Western Conference finals," Randolph said. "It's important. I feel good, but the job ain't done yet. We know it's going to be tough going to Oklahoma trying to win that game. We believe we can do it, and we're committed."

    The Grizzlies had never won a game before when facing elimination, but that was back in 2004, 2005 and 2006, when they were swept out of the postseason each of those years. These Grizzlies are having not only the best playoff run in franchise history, but they now have won more games this postseason than any other No. 8 seed from the West.

    Mayo scored 16 points for Memphis. Conley had 11 points and a franchise playoff-record 12 assists, and Tony Allen added 10 points. Now the Grizzlies are 5-1 on their home court this postseason, this win celebrated by sellout crowd that stood the entire second half cheering to keep this run going at least one more game.

    "We like people betting against us," Conley said. "It motivates us. We know a lot of people don't believe other than in the city of Memphis that we can get this done. We believe we can. That's all that matters."

    Memphis outscored the Thunder 51-29 in the second half and 46-38 in the paint overall.

    Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 points, and James Harden had 14. Kevin Durant, the NBA's leading scorer in the regular season, was held to a season-worst 11 points on 3-of-14 shooting. It was his lowest scoring game since he had six points in eight minutes Feb. 27, 2009, at Dallas.

    "He saved himself for Sunday," Hollins quipped.

    Durant called his performance frustrating but immediately looked to Game 7.

    "It's going to be a tough Game 7 at our place," Durant said. "I'm looking forward to it."

    Westbrook refused to call this a blown opportunity.

    "We got one more game, and we've got to be able to close it out," he said.

    Randolph had been limited to 19.8 points and 31.9 percent shooting since his career playoff-best scoring output in Game 1. He had been the focus of the Thunder's defense and had just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting in Game 5. Hollins credited the difference to having 48 more hours to recover from their triple-overtime loss Monday.

    The power forward, named to the All-NBA's third team Friday, scored 12 in the fourth to preserve Memphis' lead. Randolph scored six straight points, capped by a 12-foot fallaway jumper that sent the fans into a frenzy chanting his nickname.

    "He was making jump shots, and he was making contested jump shots," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He's third-team All-NBA for a reason. That guy is a player, and when he gets it going, you only can do what you can do and that is contest his shot and force him to take tough shots, and he made some tough shots tonight."

    Mayo, told by Hollins he would start before the morning shootaround, called Randolph's play unbelievable.

    "He never fails," Mayo said. "You can live when he has a bad game because he plays so many incredible games, and down the stretch he carries us so much that when he has a bad game, you're like 'OK, he's a little human.' But pretty much, he never fails us."

    One sequence late summed up the Thunder's offensive woes. The Thunder had a fast break with Westbrook driving to the basket, but he just couldn't finish the shot. Randolph came up with the rebound, then Mayo hit a 19-footer to push the Grizzlies' lead to 88-79 with 3:11 left.

    The Thunder had their biggest lead at 54-41 just before halftime and looked ready to blow out Memphis, just as they did in Game 5 on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.

    But Shane Battier ended the first half with a 3-pointer, and the Grizzlies used that as the start of an 18-5 run into the third. Randolph's bucket with 5:19 left in the third tied it at 59, Gasol tied it again at 65, and Mayo's three-point play put Memphis ahead to stay at 68-65 with 2:10 left.

    Game notes

    Young had a tough day Friday. He found his car had been stolen after the morning shootaround. It was retrieved 15 minutes or so later, and he credited OnStar for the recovery. ... The Denver Nuggets won six postseason games as a No. 8 seed in 1994. ... Mayo also had four steals and four assists. ... The Thunder hit 11 of 20 in the second quarter when they outscored Memphis 30-21.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 83 95
    FGM-FGA 31-74 (.419) 36-83 (.434)
    3PM-3PA 4-25 (.160) 5-16 (.313)
    FTM-FTA 17-24 (.708) 18-22 (.818)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 6-41 7-41
    Assists 15 20
    Turnovers 16 11
    Steals 4 10
    Blocks 6 5
    Fast Break Points 16 7
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (3/0) 22 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 13 13

    Top Performers

    Oklahoma City
    Russell Westbrook Westbrook
    Points: 27
    Reb: 3
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Zach Randolph Randolph
    Points: 30
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2

    Research Notes

    For the 2nd straight series, Zach Randolph was awesome in a Game 6. Z-Bo went for 30 points and 13 rebounds on Friday including 12 points in the 4th quarter. In the first round vs the Spurs, the big fella had 31 and 11 and scored 17 in the 4th quarter. Incredibly, he was 12-22 from the field in both games.
    NEXT LEVEL: While its no secret Kevin Durant struggled Friday, it was how he struggled which should be a cause of concern. None of Durants 14 FG attempts came within 10 feet of the basket. In three losses in this series, Durant has settled for outside shots rather than attacking the basket. 44 percent of his attempts have come from outside of 20 feet including 9 on Friday.
    The Grizzlies trailed by 10 points in the 2nd half of Friday's game. It's the third time this postseason they have won after trailing by double digits in the 2nd half. All other teams have a combined four such wins.
    The Grizzlies are just the 4th team in the last 10 seasons to win an elimination game after trailing by at least 10 points in the 2nd half. Of the three previous teams to do it, only the 2010 Lakers won their series, beating the Celtics to claim the 2nd of back-to-back NBA titles.
    The Grizzlies did an excellent job Friday night closing out and contesting Oklahoma City's catch-and-shoot jump shots. As a result, the Thunder, especially Kevin Durant (1-8), struggled to convert on such opportunities.
    Kevin Durant scored a career playoff-low 11 points Friday, struggling to find his rhythm for much of the night. Durant made only 1 of 5 field goals on spot-up opportunities including 0 of 3 in the second half when the Grizzlies pulled away. Durant entered Game 6 having shot a team-high 44.8 percent from the floor on spot-up jumpers in the 2011 postseason (min. 20 FGA).
    Coming off a Game 5 performance in which he scored a playoff-low nine points, Zach Randolph came up big in Friday's Game 6 victory over the Thunder. Randolph took over the game in the post, scoring 18 of his game-high 30 points down low.
    Oklahoma City attempted 29 field goals in each half on possessions in which they completed two passes or fewer. However, in the second half the Thunder struggled to generate points early in possessions. Thunder star Kevin Durant was 1-9 (11.1 pct) shooting on possessions with two or fewer passes, including 1-8 over the final 24 minutes.
    Zach Randolph had another dominant postseason game with 30 points and 13 rebounds. It was his fourth 30-10 game of the playoffs and third vs. the Thunder. No other player has more than two.

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