Sat, Apr 26, 2014 - Page 18 News List

Conley-inspired Grizzlies claim a 2-1 series lead

AFP, MEMPHIS, Tennessee

Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies, center, goes up for a basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series in Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Mike Conley tallied 20 points, while Zach Randolph and Tony Allen had 16 points apiece as the Memphis Grizzlies held on to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 98-95 in overtime to take a 2-1 lead in their NBA playoff series.

Randolph also added 10 rebounds and half a dozen assists for the Grizzlies, who never trailed in the second half of the first-round playoff contest.

“We missed a lot of good looks, a few open threes and some lay-ins. Some shots I wish we could have back,” Thunder forward Kevin Durant said.

In the other Western Conference opening-round contest on Thursday, the Los Angeles Clippers took a 2-1 series lead over the Golden State Warriors behind a superb 32-point performance from Blake Griffin.

Oklahoma City had to come back from a 17-point deficit as point guard Russell Westbrook forced overtime with a four-point play in the final seconds of regulation.

Westbrook launched a three-pointer from the top of the key, but was bumped by Allen. Despite the contact, Westbrook hit the shot and an ensuing free throw to tie the game 85-85. Both teams came up empty on their last possessions in regulation.

Durant opened overtime with a three-point play, but Conley followed a Marc Gasol basket with five consecutive points. Memphis never trailed the rest of the way.

Game 4 is scheduled for today in Memphis.

Gasol finished with 14 points and eight rebounds for the Grizzlies, who are still looking for their first championship after starting their NBA life in Vancouver back in 1995.

Beno Udrih came up huge off the bench for the second consecutive contest, posting 12 points in just 14 minutes of playing time.

Udrih played sparingly in 10 games with the Grizzlies, but took over the backup point guard role after Nick Calathes was suspended for violating the league’s drug policy. Udrih was with the New York Knicks for the first half of the season.

The Grizzlies, who held the Thunder to just 36 points in the first half, extended their home winning streak to 15 games.

Durant and Westbrook scored 30 points each for the Thunder, but missed 17 shots apiece. Durant went zero-for-eight from three-point range.

“We will look at [the] film tonight,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “We just got to stay together, focus all of our attention as a group and take it to the next game.”

Center DeAndre Jordan grabbed 22 rebounds and had five blocks for the Clippers, who snapped a five-game road playoff losing streak to win Game 3 over Golden State.

Los Angeles nearly blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, before taking care of business on the final possession.

Chris Paul finished with 15 points and 10 assists, while Jordan had 14 points in Thursday’s victory.

Klay Thompson paced the Warriors with 26 points, while Stephen Curry finished with a 16-point, 15-assist double-double.

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