Monday night in the NBA playoffs saw the Grizzlies and Clippers knot up first round series. Memphis won in dramatic fashion, while the Clippers blew out the Warriors before they ever really had a chance.
111 - 105 1-1
Oklahoma City Thunder Recap
Golden State Warriors Recap
98 - 138 1-1
Los Angeles Clippers Recap
5 things to know
Grit. Grind. Series tied.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook give the Thunder their own signature brand of energy every night, the type that will blow the opposition off the floor in a moment's notice if they aren't ready for its sudden onset. It looked like it was going to happen again in Game 2 when Oklahoma City's co-headliners helped close a six-point deficit in the game's final four minutes with one spectacular play after another. The stage was set for the Thunder to steal a victory in dramatic fashion, only the Grizzlies weren't about to let it happen.
These Grizzlies don't have the Thunder's star power, youth, athleticism or penchant for making you lose your mind, but that's just fine with Memphis. The Grizzlies have size in the middle no one can match, a steady, underrated point guard and a perimeter defender crazy enough to believe he can lock up the league's best scorer. That was good enough to steal an overtime victory on Monday night, 111-105, and send the series back to Memphis knotted at a game apiece.
The Thunder can have the highlight reel plays. Memphis is perfectly content with grinding out a win the same as ever. -Ricky O'Donnell
Joerger's opening statement
This is what most NBA fans know about first-year Memphis coach Dave Joerger: He’s the guy who replaced Lionel Hollins and tried to get the Grizzlies to play a faster pace for a while before reverting back to the tried and true Grit n’ Grind style of his predecessor. Coming into the playoffs we really didn’t know what kind of a coach Joerger was going to be, or will become eventually.
We got a glimpse of Joerger’s acumen in Monday’s wild, thrilling, what-the-hell-was-that overtime win in Oklahoma City. He employed a small lineup that featured a point guard, three wings and Marc Gasol to great effect, getting more valuable minutes out of Beno Udrih than the Knicks ever did. He went back to a conventional alignment down the stretch and stayed the course in overtime even after Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant took turns freaking everyone out.
But it was his play call with 35 seconds left that sealed this one for Memphis. Taking the ball the length of the court, the Grizz got a Zach Randolph layup off a nifty feed from Tony Allen to give them the lead and a successful 2-for-1. On the next possession, the Thunder ran a bizarre give and go thing that ended with an awkward Serge Ibaka travel. Joerger earned some cred with his first playoff victory and the Grizzlies are once again making life difficult for a contender. -Paul Flannery
GIF history denied
There go the Memphis Grizzlies putting asterisks on our Thunder GIFs. Had Oklahoma City pulled off the overtime win, we'd be banging our eyeballs against a series of instant classic plays: Russell Westbrook spiking a one-handed transition dunk with clear intent to shatter the rim. Kevin Durant hovering supine after a foul to bury an and-one three from the front row. Kendrick Perkins cleaning up an ugly Westbrook miss to score his first points and tie the game at the buzzer. These have been presented in order of both chronology and impressiveness.
All instant nominees for eternal playoff lore, all swept aside by the balanced, methodical, highlight-less excellence of the Grizzlies. CAPS LOCK moments overwritten by a lowercase victory. -Seth Rosenthal
You wouldn't like the Clippers when they're angry
The Clippers have more than their fair share of Freak Athlete Monsters -- the big green things that can rip through shirts.
After losing Game 1, the Clips could've creeped closer to another squandered season with a loss. And for all the hype and HEY WE'RE SUCCESSFUL NOW stuff, there hasn't been an awful lot of postseason success for the new-look Clippers.
In Game 2, they avoided that hole and punished you for thinking failure was even an option. They were up 10 in the game's first six minutes, 20 by the half, 30 in the opening minutes of the third, and yup, eventually 40 points. It's served as a reminder that hey, you might not like them when they're angry. -Rodger Sherman
Steph's forgotten excellence
Stephen Curry, visibly furious, scored 20 points in the third quarter against Los Angeles. This would of course be bigger news had the Warriors not been down more than 20 points, but it will be forgotten thanks to the terrific execution and focus of the Clippers. Doc Rivers regrouped the starters following some rash turnovers and the Clippers got better scoring looks with better ball control as L.A. actually increased their lead during Curry's hot streak. -Ben Swanson
Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers Atlanta leads 1-0 | 7 p.m., TNT BankersLife Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Ind.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors Brooklyn leads 1-0 | 7:30 p.m., NBATV Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ont.
Washington Wizards vs. Chicago Bulls Washington leads 1-0 | 9:30 p.m., TNT United Center, Chicago, Ill.