An NBA blog from Newsday's Bobby Bonett
Flashback: Grizz push Thunder to the brink
Day 2 of our 30-team NBA playoff flashback profiles the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies franchise has never won an NBA title, and has four playoff appearances since its inaugural season in 1995-96.
Date: May 9, 2011
Situation: The No. 8 seed Grizzlies lead the No. 4 seed Thunder 2-1 heading to Game 4 of the West semifinals.
Context: After shocking the No. 1 seed Spurs in six games in the first round for the first playoff series win in franchise history, the Grizzlies stayed hot, winning two of the first three games of the semifinals against Oklahoma City. Game 3 was a thriller; Memphis outscored Oklahoma City 23-10 in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 86 and send the game to overtime. The Grizzlies dominated the extra period and won, 101-93, to take the 2-1 series lead.
Recap: Regulation was back-and-forth, with Memphis taking a 28-16 lead at the end of the first quarter, then Oklahoma City cutting the lead to four at the half. Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and the Thunder were up three, 96-93. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley then hit a bomb at the end regulation, knotting the game at 96, sending the second straight game to overtime. The second overtime again saw a desperation three, this time Greivis Vazquez drilling his first trey of the game to tie the game at 109 and send the game to a second overtime. At the end of the second extra frame, Russell Westbrook had a chance to lift the Thunder and knot the series at 2-2, but his last-second shot rattled out, meaning a third extra period. Oklahoma City dominated the final five minutes, outscoring Memphis 14-4. It was just the sixth playoff game in league history to go at least three overtimes. Memphis lost, 133-123 in triple overtime.
Top players: Zach Randolph continued his huge postseason, scoring 34 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in 55 minutes. Marc Gasol also played over 50 minutes, finishing with 26 points and 21 rebounds. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined for 75 points for the Thunder.
After the game: The Thunder thumped Memphis in Game 5, 99-72, to take a 3-2 series lead. Zach Randolph poured in 30 points the following game to lead Memphis to a 95-83 win, but Oklahoma City won Game 7 handedly, 105-90, to eliminate the Grizzlies in seven games.
Check back tomorrow for the Clippers.
You can view the whole series back clicking the "Flashback" tag below.