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article imageNBA: Grizzlies keeping playoff hopes alive with 107-101 victory

By Kristofor Molson     Mar 8, 2011 in Sports
Memphis - Given a catastrophic break down by the Thunder they are a lock to be in the playoffs, but their seed is a different question. As for the Grizzlies their chances are mixed between five different teams, so this win was major for their race.
The Memphis Grizzlies (36-29) took another top seed in the West, with the Oklahoma City Thunder (39-23) coming to town. Memphis has won five of seven games since the break, and is coming off big wins against the San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks. The Grizzlies now own the season series against the Thunder with this win giving them a 3-1 series win.
Memphis jumped out to a 12-6 lead on an Allen layup. The Thunder cut the lead to four forcing the Grizzlies to take a timeout. The Grizzlies kept the pressure on the Thunder as they continued to push their lead behind the play of Gasol and Randolph. OKC could not get closer than six, so they took a timeout at the 2:54 mark.
The Thunder came out the timeout and went on a 10-3 run to close out the quarter only down by one. The Thunder actually took the lead on a Harden jumper, but Allen came down for the Grizzlies and hit a 3-pointer to give them 25-24 lead.
The teams battled to begin the second quarter with four ties. Both teams had trouble trying to pull away until the 6:37 mark when the Grizzlies took a one points lead. At the 4:54 mark the Thunder took a 38-37 lead, but the Grizzlies could not miss as they closed out the quarter.
The Grizzlies ended the half on a 19-8 run behind a great team effort. Memphis pushed their lead to 12 points taking in a halftime score of 58-46.
The game was close during much of the first half with six ties and eight lead changes.
Russell Westbrook led OKC with 27 points and seven assists. Kevin Durant scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds. Serge Ibaka added 14 points and six rebounds with just three starters scoring in double digits. James Harden had a nice game off the bench chipping in with 16 points with six rebounds and five assists.
All the starters scored in double-digits for the Grizzlies with Tony Allen and Mike Conley scoring 20 points apiece, and Conley had nine assists. Marc Gasol scored 18 points with Zach Randolph scoring 17 points with six rebounds, and Sam Young chipped in with 12 points.
The Grizzlies continued to hold their lead as they pushed it to 13 on 3-point play by Allen early in the third. Randolph pushed Memphis lead to 15 points forcing the Thunder to take a timeout. Durant hit back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Grizzlies lead 73-62. OKC cut the Memphis lead to 79-73 with an 8-4 run. The Thunder got down by as much as 17 points this period despite going 6-12 from behind the arc.
OKC carried over a 14-6 run that cut the Grizzlies lead down to one, forcing them to take a timeout early in the fourth. The Grizzlies took an 87-79 lead until OKC had back-to-back free-throws by Durant and Daequan Cook (5 points). The closes the Thunder could get in the final period was to one as Westbrook made it 93-92 on a free-throw.
The Grizzlies held the Thunder at bay despite their hot shooting in the second half. The Thunder tried to threaten the Memphis lead in the fourth quarter, but OKC was unable to get a key basket to outdo the Grizzlies. The turnovers did the Thunder in as they had a total of 12 with three big ones coming in the fourth.
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