Grizzlies defeat Thunder, take series leadMay 1, 2011 - 9:14 PM Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - Zach Randolph came up big for Memphis again, posting 34 points and 10 rebounds as the Grizzlies defeated Oklahoma City, 114-101, in the opener of their second-round playoff series.
Randolph had 31 points and 11 rebounds on Friday, when Memphis closed out its Western Conference quarterfinal matchup against San Antonio.
It was a monumental victory for the Grizzlies, who had never won a playoff series before and made the Spurs the second No. 1 seed to fall in the first round since the best-of-seven format was instituted.
Randolph was strong once again Sunday, hitting 12-of-22 shots and making all nine free throws. Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 boards as the Grizzlies, the surprise of this postseason, got off a strong series start. Game 2 is set for Tuesday, back at Oklahoma City Arena.
"Any time you win on the road in the playoffs, it's a steal," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins. "That's what we did. We came in here and we stole one."
Kevin Durant had 33 points and 11 rebounds to lead the fourth-seeded Thunder, who defeated Denver in five games in the first round and are considered by many to be a developing juggernaut in the West.
But they were out-played Sunday by the Grizzlies, who won three of the four matchups during the regular season, held a 52-38 advantage in points in the paint and forced 18 turnovers with tenacious defense.
Those stats reflected in Oklahoma City's individual performances. While Thunder forward Serge Ibaka had 16 points, 11 boards and five blocks, center Kendrick Perkins finished with two points and six rebounds in 29-plus minutes as he helped guard Randolph.
Additionally, point guard Russell Westbrook committed seven turnovers against six assists, and shot 9-of-23. He ended with 29 points and eight rebounds.
"It was my fault," Westbrook said. "I did not take care of the ball. It starts with me. I just have to take better care of the ball."
Oklahoma City trailed nearly the entire game, and held its largest lead when Westbrook hit a jumper 73 seconds into the game for a 4-2 edge.
But Randolph scored the next five, and Memphis held a slight lead for the rest of the quarter, finishing with a 28-24 edge.
The Grizzlies' bench helped them take control during a crucial stretch in the second. With Memphis already leading by seven, Shane Battier intercepted a bad pass with just under eight minutes to play, leading to a Darrell Arthur jumper that began a six-point burst.
Arthur blocked an Ibaka jumper at the other end, and Westbrook turned the ball over on Oklahoma City's next two touches. Sam Young then tipped in a shot before Randolph hit a fadeaway for a 45-32 advantage midway through the quarter.
"He's a good player," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "We have to limit his touches and make the ones that he does get, tougher. We have to crowd the paint."
Memphis led by as many as 16 in the quarter, including when Tony Allen sank a layup during a sequence that typified Sunday's contest.
Gasol gained possession after Westbrook lost the ball, then passed to Mike Conley, who threaded a pass between two defenders for Allen, who finished the play for a 56-40 cushion.
The Thunder climbed within 57-47 at the break and closed within a possession several times early in the third.
They were still within striking distance when Nick Collison drove for a hook shot with 3:18 on the clock, making it a 75-71 contest. But they didn't score for the rest of the quarter, turning the ball over twice and missing five shots.
The dry stretch allowed the Grizzlies to increase their lead to 84-71 heading into the fourth, and they led by at least seven, and by as many as 17, during the final quarter.
Randolph set a franchise playoff record for points for a second consecutive game...Memphis committed only eight turnovers...Battier had 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals for the Grizzlies, while Conley added 15 with seven assists. Allen scored 12...Oklahoma City got 16 points from its bench.
- MEMPHIS: 114
OKLAHOMA CITY: 101
May 1 3:44 PM
- MEMPHIS: 84
OKLAHOMA CITY: 71
End of 3rd
May 1 2:50 PM
- MEMPHIS: 57
OKLAHOMA CITY: 47
May 1 2:04 PM
- MEMPHIS: 28
OKLAHOMA CITY: 24
End of 1st
May 1 1:29 PM
- MEMPHIS: 0
OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
May 1 1:05 PM
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