Quantcast 2011 NBA Western Conference Playoffs: Semifinals - Memphis vs Oklahoma City

 

2011 NBA Playoff Preview – Semifinals Game 6 Recap

Western Conference Semifinal Game 6 - Memphis 95, Oklahoma City 83 - Series tied, 3-3

 

After one half of basketball it looked as if the Cinderella story of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies was two quarters away from ending. A team that failed to drive a dagger through the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime of Game 4 had been pulverized in Game 5 due to an utter lack of energy. What had once been a 2-1 series advantage with the ready possibility of a 3-1 lead had turned into a 3-2 deficit and the looming specter of elimination. With sluggish legs and passive play, the late-ripening Grizzlies were about to fail in their attempt to become the first Western Conference team to reach the third round of the playoffs from the eighth seeding slot.

Yet, just when the professional basketball community was about to shovel dirt on this special NBA season in the state of Tennessee, the Grizzlies rediscovered the grit and tunnel-vision determination they’ve brought to the 2011 postseason. After winning a round total of zero playoff games in franchise history since their relocation from Vancouver, the Grizzlies took out the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs in the first round. Plainly put, the same stuff that carried the Grizz past the heralded Spurs brought them to a satisfying come-from-behind triumph against Oklahoma City.

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Memphis turned a 54-44 halftime deficit into an opportunity, not a burden. A 28-14 period catapulted the home team to a 72-68 third-quarter lead at the FedEx Forum in the flood-ravaged city that’s gaining a brief but meaningful bit of respite from the horrors enfolding it. This was a tremendous turnaround for the underdog Grizzlies. Memphis scored 18 of the first 23 points in the third quarter, with the trio of Zach Randolph, O.J. Mayo, and Tony Allen leading them back from the brink of elimination. The fourth quarter only affirmed the worthiness of an eighth seed that has played like a top-four seed in these playoffs. Randolph hit shot after shot, finishing the night with 30 points, and giving the Grizzlies a chance to advance to the Western Conference finals with a Game 7 win over Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon.

 

 

The Thunder missed a golden opportunity to close out the pesky Grizzlies. Oklahoma City shot just 4-of-25 beyond the three-point line and was outscored 51-29 in the second half. Thunder superstar Kevin Durant could not find his offensive rhythm all evening long. The two-time defending scoring champ picked up two early fouls and, unable to gain a foothold in the contest, was just 3-of-14 from the field while missing eight of nine attempts from three-point land. Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 points. Yet, the point guard had more turnovers than assists.

It’s down to one game for a spot against the Dallas Mavericks next week. Oklahoma City will be the favorite, but if Memphis has established anything over the past month, it’s that it will stand in the ring a lot longer than your typical number-eight seed.

 

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By: Matt Zemek
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer


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