Memphis had a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter, but some offensive struggles down the stretch allowed Oklahoma City back in it. Derek Fisher tied the game on a three with just under two minutes to play, but two Marc Gasol free throws moments later put the Grizzlies up for good.
Gasol led Memphis with 20 points, with 12 of those coming in the third quarter. Tony Allen provided a surprising offensive boost with 14 points, and made Durant work hard on the other end. Mike Conley was rather quiet after his monster Game 2 performance, although he did finish with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Durant had 25 points and 11 rebounds on 9-of-19 shooting for Oklahoma City, but he struggled in the second half and missed two clutch free throws. Reggie Jackson added 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Martin had 13 points off the bench. Serge Ibaka struggled with his shooting and missed two dunks, but still finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks while doing an excellent job against Zach Randolph. Randolph was limited to eight points on 4-of-12 shooting.
Oklahoma City shot just 36.4 percent percent for the game. Things were especially bad in the third quarter, when they shot 20 percent and turned the ball over six times against the stingy Grizzlies defense. The Thunder were able to somewhat overcome their poor shooting with 14 offensive rebounds, but it would not be enough.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively, with the Thunder bricking a lot of shots and the Grizzlies committing some silly turnovers. Oklahoma City shot just 31.8 percent in the opening quarter, while Memphis turned it over five times, allowing the Thunder to get some easy buckets in transition.
The lead went back and forth throughout the quarter, but the Grizzlies opened up a four-point lead at the end of one. With Durant on the bench, that lead stretched to 10 on the back of three Jerryd Bayless jumpers. Scott Brooks quickly went back to Durant, and the Thunder superstar immediately got his team back within four.
The game stayed close the rest of the half, and a Martin layup with 1:00 to play gave Oklahoma City a one-point lead. Memphis closed the second quarter with some missed jumpers, which was a theme for much of the half. The Grizzlies went just 1-of-9 from three-point land in the first half.
The second half started much like the first, with both teams struggling to get much going on offense. The Thunder went 1-of-11 to start the quarter, and Gasol helped lead the Grizzlies on a 13-3 run to grab a seven-point lead. The lead reached as many as nine, but a late Durant three made it a six-point game entering the final frame.
A Keyon Dooling three early in the fourth quarter had the Thunder once again on the ropes, but a quick 8-0 run got the deficit back to one. The Grizzlies then struck back with a pair of three-pointers that looked to be the nail in the coffin before the great finish.
Game 4 is on Monday in Memphis.
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