The NBA playoffs offer two Game 3's on Saturday with both series tied at 1-1. The Oklahoma City Thunder look to bounce back on the road after losing Game 2 to the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Indiana Pacers hope the series shifting to their home court will cure a dismal offensive showing after their loss to the New York Knicks.
Thunder vs. Grizzlies Game 3 (Series tied 1-1), Game time: 5 p.m. ET | TV: ESPN
Kevin Durant scored 36 points while shooting over 50 percent from the field, but it wasn't enough as the Grizzlies took Game 2 in Oklahoma City, 93-99. Will his teammates step up and give him the help he needs to carry the team? Derek Fisher had a huge night off the bench for the Thunder, going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc on his way to 19 points, but that level of production cannot be anticipated. Mike Conley dominated the game with a near triple-double while hitting the go-ahead three-point field goal that was the climax of the Grizzlies' 30-point fourth quarter.
Zebelun Benbrook of Welcome to Loud City considered the Thunder moving for a small-ball lineup that worked well for them in Game 2, and he concluded that it is a risky strategy that could also be high-reward:
However, this can also make the strategy very risky. It inherently relies on the Thunder's shooters, who haven't been very reliable so far. Sure, Derek Fisher and Serge Ibaka were able to make some great shots, but can they make those shots night to night? And will the ball always get to them? I can only imagine the Grizzlies falling for the illusion of a Martin or Sefolosha drive a few times before they catch on.
Knicks vs. Pacers Game 3 (Series tied 1-1), Game time: 8 p.m. ET | TV: ABC
In the second game of the night, the Knicks head to Indiana to face the Pacers. The Knicks tied the series in Game 2 despite J.R. Smith going 3-of-15 from the field, as Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points. The Pacers' offensive ineptitude, however, was the story. The Pacers only scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over 21 times overall.
Over at Indy Cornrows, Nathan S. reminisced on where it all went wrong for Indiana after the Pacers took a two-point lead over the Knicks in the third quarter:
At some point though, turnovers are going to catch up to you against a good team and for Indiana, it was an Indiana timeout after taking a 64-62 lead at the 3:04 mark of the third quarter. The Knicks emerged from the timeout by switching Paul George off of Carmelo Anthony on two straight possessions, giving the Knicks five quick points, and it was off to the races. New York hit the hole for a 36-4 run while Indiana slammed into a wall.