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Grizzlies 103, Thunder 97 (OT)

The SportsXchange

MEMPHIS -- Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks said before Monday night's Western Conference semifinal Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies that the contest would be just like the first three.

"It's whoever wins the game's last two minutes," Brooks said.

Again, it was the Grizzlies, who emerged with a 103-97 overtime victory at FedExForum to grab a 3-1 series lead.

After Memphis forwarBy Ron Higginsd Zach Randolph's 16-footer was blocked at the end of regulation, the Grizzlies kept grinding in overtime. They relied on cool free-throw shooting and solid defense in the closing moments to take the win.

A Marc Gasol 16-footer with 23.8 seconds left in overtime broke Oklahoma City's spirit.

Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 24 points, and Gasol and Randolph scored 23 apiece while combining for 23 rebounds.

Kevin Durant finished with 27 points for the Thunder. Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka added 18 points and 17 points, respectively.

Game 5 is Wednesday at Oklahoma City, where the Grizzlies won Game 2.

The Grizzlies missed their first seven shots of the game, and it didn't get much better for them in the first quarter as Oklahoma City took a 29-18 lead.

After a cold shooting Game 3, Oklahoma City hit 55.6 percent in the opening period, hitting four of five 3-point attempts. They did a superb job on Randolph, surrounding him and forcing him to commit two fouls that put him on the bench.

Ibaka, after a poor Game 3, was hot at the start Monday, compiling nine points and seven rebounds in the opening quarter.

Though the Grizzlies' offense came to life slightly in the second quarter, they still couldn't get enough stops to reel in the Thunder, who held a 56-48 lead at the break.

Every time Oklahoma City needed a basket, Durant and Ibaka were the providers, scoring 14 and 13 first-half points, respectively.

It became clear that Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins needed to make a defensive adjustment at halftime, because veteran Tayshaun Prince couldn't stop Durant. When Tony Allen guarded Durant in the first half, Durant was ineffective.

The Grizzlies got back in the game when Hollins finally switched Allen on Durant, and Durant was held scoreless while Memphis made its run to pull into a 76-76 tie at the end of three quarters.

NOTES: Two years ago in FedExForum on a Monday with the Grizzlies leading Oklahoma City 2-1, the Thunder scored a 133-123 triple-overtime victory. The Thunder won the series in seven games. "We were almost up 20 points (18 points with 8:21 left in second quarter), they made a run and took us out of the game," Randolph recalled after Sunday's practice. "It made my summer tough. We should have won it." ... Allen was named to the NBA's All-Defensive first-team on Monday, as was Ibaka. Gasol, who two weeks ago was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year, was on the second team, as was Conley.
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