Published January 13, 2015
The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder are knotted at a game apiece as their Western Conference semifinal series shifts to Memphis on Saturday.
The Grizzlies stole home-court advantage in this series by virtue of their Game 2 victory Tuesday in OKC. Memphis walked out of Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 99-93 win.
"We just have to stay focused and go play," Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins said after practice on Friday. "Guys are starting to see it doesn't matter where you play, who we play, just be prepared and stayed poised."
The Grizzlies trailed by five after three quarters on Tuesday, but dominated the fourth quarter to the tune of a 30-19 advantage. Now, Memphis has the home-court advantage in their quest to get to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.
"Well, we understand that there is more work to be done obviously, but for the most part I just liked that, one through 15, every guy was focused," guard Tony Allen said after the Game 2 win.
Mike Conley paced the Grizzlies on Tuesday with 26 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the floor. He also led Memphis in rebounding with 10 and assists with nine.
Marc Gasol, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, had 24 points in Game 2. Zach Randolph chipped in 15 points and Allen had 12.
The Grizzles led the NBA in opponents' scoring during the regular season. OKC was third in scoring and through two games of this series, Memphis has put the clamps on the top seed in the West. The Thunder scored 93 points in both games.
The Thunder have been led by Kevin Durant, the second-leading scorer in the NBA this season. He has picked up his game even further, which is shocking, considering he finished second to LeBron James in MVP voting, because of the injury to Russell Westbrook. Durant's fellow All-Star will be out for the entire postseason after knee surgery, but Durant doesn't see it as a one-man show.
"We just have to continue to move the ball," Durant said. "I think we're doing a really good job of moving it. We just have to finish shots. That's it. We work so hard at it -- shooting good shots and finding shots we want to get in our offense. It's just a matter of us finishing the plays now."
Durant led the Thunder in Game 2 with 36 points. It came on 11-for-21 shooting, but Durant also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds and handed out nine assists.
The venerable Derek Fisher came off the bench, hit four 3-pointers and scored 19 points. Serge Ibaka added 11 and Reggie Jackson, who starts in Westbrook's absence, had 10.
The Thunder are the defending Western Conference champions and despite a relatively young roster, they know what it'll take to win this series. They aren't panicked about a 1-1 split in Oklahoma City.
"We're excited about the opportunity," head coach Scott Brooks said. "We're ready to go out to Memphis and play a basketball game. We know what we have to do and we're excited about the challenge. We're going there to try to win Game 3. That's always been our focus -- worrying about each game. Our guys have thrived having that mentality all year long."
The Thunder have dropped five of their last eight in Memphis.
Game 4 is scheduled for Monday night in Memphis.