Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

March 21, 2013

Gasol's tip-in sinks Thunder in overtime

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marc Gasol tipped in Zach Randolph’s miss with less than a second left in overtime to give the Memphis Grizzlies a 90-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

In a game that had all the intensity of a playoff matchup, Jerryd Bayless connected from the top of the key for Memphis with 3.7 seconds left in regulation to send the teams into overtime tied at 83. Bayless had 10 points in the fourth quarter.

After Gasol’s tip over Kevin Durant put the Grizzlies ahead, Russell Westbrook’s desperation shot from past halfcourt was off the mark and Memphis walked away with its 16th victory in 19 games.

Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 24 points and Bayless had 20. Zach Randolph added 15 points and 18 rebounds, while Gasol had 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Durant led the Thunder with 32 points, including 15 in the third quarter to help Oklahoma City take its first lead. Westbrook scored 20 points on 7-of-25 shooting from the field. Kevin Martin added 17 points, but no other Thunder player had more than seven.

Oklahoma City scored the first points in overtime on a pair of free throws from Thabo Sefolosha. Memphis then scored five straight, including three from Gasol.

The Thunder answered with a 6-footer in the lane from Durant and a layup by Westbrook with 13.2 seconds left for an 89-88 lead.

That set the stage for Gasol’s final tip-in.

The game featured physical play, disputed calls and technicals. Westbrook got a technical early for griping; Randolph got one late in the fourth when he thought he was fouled under the Memphis basket.

The physical play was coupled with defensive pressure that led to low shooting percentages. The Thunder ended the night at a season-low 35.7 percent from the field, while Memphis managed to shoot only slightly better at 36 percent.

There were four ties and 14 lead changes in the game.

The Grizzlies maintained their hold on third place in the Western Conference standings and pulled within three games of the Thunder for second.

Once Oklahoma City caught Memphis behind Durant’s shooting late in the third quarter, the teams exchanged leads throughout the fourth, eventually leaving them deadlocked at the end of regulation.

Memphis shot well early to build a 10-point lead in the first half before carrying a 44-38 lead into halftime.

Durant and Martin had 10 points apiece at the break. Randolph had 12 for Memphis.

It was a physical first half with neither team shooting well. Durant and Westbrook started a combined 3 of 16.

Tayshaun Prince, who was responsible for guarding Durant, wasn’t exactly providing offense, either, going 2 for 8 from the field.

The defensive intensity continued through the early stages of the third period as the teams were a combined 4 of 22 through the first 6 minutes.

But the Thunder kept cutting into the lead as Durant took over offensively, scoring 15 in the quarter. His consecutive baskets late in the third gave Oklahoma City its first lead at 57-56.

Two free throws from Gasol gave Memphis the lead back at 58-57 entering the fourth.

NOTES: Thunder F Serge Ibaka played after taking some stitches in his head against Denver on Tuesday night. . Memphis F Darrell Arthur missed his ninth straight game with neck and back soreness. . The Grizzlies won the season series 2-1. . Oklahoma City scored 15 points in the first quarter, a season low for the opening period.

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