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Grizzlies Get Another OT Win, Portland Seeks Victory to Close Series

On Tuesday, the No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies defeated the No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder 100-99 in a fourth straight–and record–overtime game. But first, the Thunder thought they got the win.

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant

With 2.9 seconds remaining in overtime, Kevin Durant went for a 3-point shot but missed it. Teammate Serge Ibaka got the ball on the rebound and attempted to tip it into the net; however, it went under review. The officials decided that the ball had been released right after the buzzer hit zero.

This gave Memphis the win and a 3-2 series lead.

In addition to the last-minute victory, the Grizzlies jumped out of the starting gates on Tuesday, going on a 10-2 run.  For the first quarter alone, Memphis scored 30 points (60 percent shooting). They found themselves with a 20-point lead but Oklahoma City was not going to go down easily; they had their own 13-0 run.

By halftime, Memphis had a 55-43 advantage but Oklahoma City soon found themselves in a 20-point deficit after the break. They whittled it down to six by the beginning of the fourth quarter as Memphis got off to rough start; finally the Thunder had a 79-78 advantage at the 6:46 mark.

But Memphis kept going, and thanks to two straight baskets by Mike Conley, the Grizzlies again had the lead, 87-82 with less than four minutes to go. The Thunder surged back at the end and forced the game to overtime. Again.

For the night, Mike Miller led in scoring for Memphis with 21 points, while Zach Randolph added 20 points and 10 rebounds. Conley contributed 17 points.

Randolph said of the win via the Associated Press, “Nothing comes easy for us. We get it out of the mud, we grind and we’re underdogs. It’s what we do.”

As for the Thunder, Russell Westbrook showed up for this game, leading the team with his 30 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. This followed the previous game’s 15 points. Durant added 26 points (10 of 24 shooting).

Looking ahead, on Thursday with a win, the Grizzlies can close it out. They have 20/1 odds to win the 2014 NBA Championship while the Thunder have 6/1 odds to do so. It’s hard not to wonder what the odds are for this game to go into OT.

In other Northwest division action, the No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers will play the No. 4 Houston Rockets  on Wednesday night. Portland leads the series 3-1 and the Rockets know the clock is ticking.

But it is also for Portland as they have a monkey on their back: they have lost their first-round playoff series in their six previous trips. A victory on Wednesday could snap this and send them to the second round–a first since 2000’s eventual Western Conference final loss.

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard said of this Game No. 5 via the Associated Press, “We want to finish the series right now and it’s going to take a lot of focus from our team and a lot of mental toughness and togetherness. That’s the only way we’re going to get it done on the road.”

LaMarcus Aldridge has challenged the Rockets, scoring 89 points combined in the series’ first two games but has been less hot in the two previous games, with 23 and 29 points respectively. He has expressed frustration with his team’s play at the start of these games and has said this will change for Wednesday’s game.

As for Houston, they’ll hope that their new weapon, Troy Daniels, shows up. The former Development League player has been an asset for the playoffs with a game-winning 3-pointer for Houston’s sole win.

In Game No. 4, he scored 17 points.

Rockets coach Kevin McHale has said Daniels will play on Wednesday. Meanwhile his teammate Patrick Beverley did not practice on Tuesday (illness) and has been battling a naggy knee since Game 1. He is expected to return on Wednesday.

Houston will get the win for this crucial game (-5.5, 213.5 o/u).




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