The Memphis Grizzlies took a 2-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday evening when they powered past them in a tight game to win 87-81.
Through three games, this series proves to be one of the most consistently competitive–but oftentimes, ugly–of this semi-final round in the 2013 NBA playoffs.
For Memphis, Marc Gasol had a gem of a game, scoring 20 points and having nine rebounds. Mike Conley and Tony Allen each dished out 14 points in the winning effort as well.
Kevin Durant–who has been putting the team on his shoulders since Russell Westbrook went down in the first round–led the team with 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Reggie Jackson helped out with 16 points of his own. Serge Ibaka also played reasonably well, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks on the night.
Durant was ice cold in the fourth quarter though–he only made one basket, and missed a pair of free throws that could have helped OKC tilt this one in their favor.
The Grizzlies and the Thunder kept it close from the opening tip-off until the final buzzer, though on a few occasions, Memphis did get their lead up to ten points. The Thunder surged back each time, and even tied it at 81 with a minute to go. It was Gasol–who had 16 of his 20 points in the second half alone–that delivered the dagger, when he sunk his free throws with 1:03 left to play to put the Grizzlies up for good. When OKC resorted to fouling to extend the game, the Grizzlies responded by nailing all six free throw attempts, and ultimately secured their win
It was an ugly game, but for Memphis it meant remaining perfect at home in the postseason.
The Thunder and the Grizzlies will clash again in Game 4 on Mon., May 13, in what is sure to be another struggle for the win.