Memphis, TN – Coming off a passive opening half and with his frontcourt running mate Zach Randolph struggling, Marc Gasol put his foot down over the final 24 minutes.
And the Memphis Grizzlies picked up another ugly win.
Gasol netted 16 of his 20 points in the second half and the Grizzlies retained their home-court advantage with an 87-81 triumph over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of this Western Conference semifinal.
The contest was tied at 81-81 after the Thunder's Derek Fisher swished a right wing 3-pointer with 1:58 left. Memphis, though, which shot just 66 percent (37-of-56) from the foul line over its first two games of the set in Oklahoma City, made all six of its attempts from the stripe over the final 1:03 to seal the outcome.
The Thunder's Kevin Durant, who scored 25 points and was a 90.5 percent foul shooter during the regular season, missed two key ones with 39.3 seconds remaining.
Tony Allen and Mike Conley added 14 points apiece for the Grizzlies, who remained unbeaten at home in the postseason. Randolph had just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting. Gasol finished 6-of-14 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds in the victory.
"It's not always pretty. Tonight wasn't pretty, but it was pretty for us because we got the win," Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said.
Memphis improved to 18-1 at FedExForum dating back to Feb. 8.
Oklahoma City flipped the script and beat Memphis at its own game. The Thunder held a 14-5 advantage on the offensive glass and a 44-30 points in the paint edge.
But with Durant failing to eclipse the 30-point plateau for just the third time in these playoffs and the Thunder being held to just 36.4 percent shooting (32-of-88), they were unable to grab back home court.
"We have to keep playing and keep improving. We just have to learn from it. We have to embrace the tough times and get better from it. I believe in my teammates," Durant said.
Reggie Jackson recorded 16 points and 10 rebounds in defeat.
The Thunder trailed 77-70 after Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter nailed triples with 6:28 left, but OKC countered with an 11-4 run to tie it.
Jackson split two free throws and nailed a short jumper before Randolph got a kind roll on a running hook to make it 79-73. Durant then knocked down a jumper and Jackson's steal and fastbreak dunk whittled the gap to two with 3:04 on the clock.
Gasol banked home a shot in the paint before Fisher scored four straight points to knot the tilt.
Gasol drew a foul on Serge Ibaka following a spin move to get past Durant along the left baseline. He sank both before Durant missed a short jumper at the other end. Conley then made two free throws with 50.5 ticks to go.
Durant drew a blocking foul on OKC's ensuing touch, but missed both shots. Durant knocked the ball away from Bayless to regain possession for the Thunder, but Fisher misfired on a deep trey and Conley sank two foul shots with 15.5 seconds to play and notch the win.
Earlier, a 14-2 Grizzlies run that bled into the second quarter vaulted them to a 10-point spread. Bayless scored the final six points of the surge to give Memphis a 28-18 lead with 9:21 remaining in the frame.
OKC, though, countered with a 10-2 spurt and later tied it at 38-38 after Kevin Martin hit a jumper and Durant threw down a dunk on back-to-back touches with 3:59 left in the half.
The Thunder took a 45-44 edge into the break. Durant recorded 16 points on 6- of-8 shooting in the opening 24 minutes.
Gasol, who attempted just four shots in the first half, attacked the basket aggressively in the third. He made 6-of-7 from the line and went 3-of-7 from the field for 12 points in the stanza as Memphis led 66-60 after three.
The Grizzlies shot 81.2 percent (23-of-28) from the foul line ... The Thunder held a 23-7 advantage in fastbreak points ... Bayless had 11 points off the bench.