Tony Allen nearly won and lost Game 3 for the Grizzlies, but without his brand of ball, Memphis isn't Memphis. Elsewhere, the Clippers held on in Oakland and the Pacers are really, really, really in trouble now.
Oklahoma City Thunder RECAP
95 - 98 2-1 MEM
Los Angeles Clippers RECAP
98 - 96 2-1 LAC
Golden State Warriors RECAP
5 things to know
Tony Allen doesn't bluff
The year was 2010 and Tony Allen was meandering through yet another uncertain season in a career that had no definitive arc. And then, suddenly the life of TA had meaning. He guarded Dwyane Wade in the first round of the playoffs and took his turn on LeBron James in the semifinals before turning his attention to Kobe Bryant in the Finals. Tony Allen had become a perimeter defensive stopper. But he always had a stock answer whenever someone brought up his new role: "Man, I just want to play."
Allen had to leave Boston to find his true calling as the spiritual leader of the Grit ‘n Grind Grizzlies, and in an improbable overtime win over the Thunder in Game 3, he reached peak TA levels. It wasn’t just that he scored 16 points and helped hold Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to 19-for-53 shooting. He damn near won the game by himself in regulation with a dunk/steal/layup trifecta and then almost lost it with an inexplicable foul on a Westbrook three that sent the game to overtime.
The Grizzlies are a difficult playoff opponent because of their suffocating defense and their terrifying frontline of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol that’s complemented by Mike Conley’s underrated floor game. But they are a dangerous team because of Tony Allen, who can tilt the game both positively and negatively in ways no one can possibly predict. -Paul Flannery
The two-man team
The Thunder's rally from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime against the Grizzlies is impressive enough even before you realize they did it essentially playing two on five offensively. In the last five minutes of regulation, a putback by Kendrick Perkins was the only shot taken by a Thunder player not named Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook. It was the same deal for the ensuing five minute overtime session, when Durant and Westbrook took all 11 meaningful shots.
Was this a case of a pair of trigger-happy superstars freezing out their teammates? Scott Brooks left better scorers on the bench to stick with Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha through crunch time, and OKC's offense suffered for it. What was left was a mess of pull-up threes from Westbrook and slashing drives by Durant. When Russ converted an impossible four-point play to tie the game with 26 seconds remaining, it looked like the Thunder's two-man show really might be enough to complete the comeback.
Alas, it wasn't meant to be. Westbrook went cold in overtime (0-for-7) and KD couldn't get going, either. Durant (27 shots) and Westbrook (26) accounted for 61 percent of the Oklahoma City's shots on the night. Serge Ibaka (10 shots) was the only other Thunder player to have double-digit attempts from the field. It was a game that showcased the best and worst of what the Thunder are: their stars can and will be brilliant, but sometimes it seems like a team that can't get out of its own way. -Ricky O'Donnell
Too little, too late
Golden State looked to be out of the game by the end of the third quarter on Thursday night. With the Clippers leading, 81-70, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson took over. The Warriors went on a run, with Curry and Thompson scoring 24 of the Warriors' 32 fourth quarter points. The game came down to the very end after Curry hitting a ridiculous three-pointer that put the Warriors down by just one point. Chris Paul missed one of his following free throws, opening the door for a final Curry jumper with four seconds left. But Paul defended the Warriors guard tightly on the play, and his shot rattled off the rim.
The win moves the Clippers to a 2-1 lead in the series. After dropping Game 1 in L.A., the Clippers rebounded and trounced Golden State in Game 2 by 42 points. With the series back in Northern California, the Warriors need all the help they can get to try and level the series on Sunday. The Warriors have adjusted to missing Andrew Bogut, but in their last two losses, Golden State is a combined 10-of-50 on three-pointers. If the Clippers are going to stop Golden State at home, they'll need to continue lock up the three-point line.-Dane Carbaugh
Tower of sour
Over the summer, Roy Hibbert practically lived at the Indianapolis Fitness and Sports Training facility. As Grantland's Brett Koremenos detailed, Hibbert saw how he wore down by the end of last season and vowed to improve his strength. Pictures of his massive upper body later surfaced, but the real focus was improving his core so he could hold his position inside more effectively.
That's what makes the current version of Hibbert so confusing. During one third-quarter stretch in Indiana's Game 3 loss the Hawks, Hibbert missed a short shot with DeMarre Carroll defending, then missed a tip-in. Earlier, he missed another layup with Carroll nearby. In previous games, Kyle Korver swatted him. He's shooting 18 percent in the paint in the last nine games. Eighteen percent. So much for that core work.
Hibbert's struggles symbolize the Pacers' woes. They're a No. 1 seed that's dramatically tinkered with their style to match up to a 38-win team, and it isn't working. Unless the big fella discovers the fruits of his offseason labor, the Pacers won't even beat Atlanta. -Mike Prada
The hero Atlanta wants
Some are born great. Some become great. Some have greatness thrust upon us. In this case, the person getting the greatness thrust upon us is Jeff Teague, just as destiny calls for the Atlanta Hawks to knock off the top-seeded Indiana Pacers.
We can't downplay Jeff Teague, Very Solid NBA Point Guard -- he averaged 16.5 and 6.7 in the regular season -- but his performance in two wins against Indiana has been spectacular. Twenty-eight points in the first win after scoring 30 only three times this year, followed by 22 and 10 assists in their Game 3 win Thursday. None were more preposterous than his one-legged, probably-out-of-bounds-but-hey-we-can't-overturn-it buzzer-beater to put the nail in the Pacers' Game 3 coffin.
What he's doing isn't inexplicable, but it's definitely shrug-worthy, and he knows it too. -Rodger Sherman
Toronto Raptors vs. Brooklyn Nets Series tied 1-1 | 7 p.m., ESPN2 Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY
Chicago Bulls vs. Washington Wizards Washington leads 2-0 | 8 p.m., ESPN Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers Portland leads 2-0 | 10:30 p.m., ESPN MODA Center, Portland, Ore.