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Thunder-Grizzlies Game 3 Recap: The Shooting Touch Goes Cold For Mr. Clutch
The series started off on the right foot for OKC, when “Mr. Clutch” Kevin Durant nailed a 3-ball with 11.1 seconds left to steal Game 1. Since, despite the series and the games staying pretty close the whole way, the Thunder are starting to feel Westbrook’s absence.
I was sick for Game 2, but from what I understand, OKC was hanging right with the Grizzlies until last minute turnovers cost the Thunder the game. That Game 2 loss put the Thunder on the wrong side of home-court advantage. Game 3 was a tight, back-and-forth battle as well. Unfortunately for OKC, Durant started feeling what it was like to have a lid on the rim near the end. He even went 0-for-2 on free throws during one trip to the line. Needless to say, the cooling of KD’s hot hand cost the Thunder Game 3. Now the Thunder not only find themselves on the wrong side of home court advantage, they find themselves on the wrong side of Memphis’ 2-1 series lead. And they find themselves behind the 8-Ball for the first time in this year’s playoffs.
Durant’s double-double (25 pts. 11 rebs.) became a moot point. Reggie Jackson had a double-double as well (16 pts. 10 rebs.) that was rendered meaningless when he lowered the shoulder and charged right into Mike Conley in the game’s closing seconds. (I don’t know why he did that. Conley positioned himself early enough that Jackson should have seen it, and tried to crossover dribble or spin around it.) Serge Ibaka contributed 13, and it could have been more, but the big man was bricking dunks and other easy shots.
Surprisingly, no Memphis players posted a double-double. Marc Gasol had 20 points, but only 9 rebounds. Zach Randolph had 10 rebounds, but only 8 points. It doesn’t matter to them though. The only thing that matters to any of the players on both sides is getting out of the arena with a W. The Thunder had better figure out how to get back to that, as Game 4 is looking like a must-win for them now. Only 8 teams in NBA history teams have battled back from a 3-1 deficit to win a playoff series. I’m sure the Thunder would like to try and avoid positioning themselves to be the potential 9th team, because tying the series at 2 games apiece makes a much easier road to the next round.
Game 4 will be coming to you from Fed Ex Arena Monday night at 9:30/8:30 CST. The game will be broadcast via TNT.
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