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Thunder fans came loaded for bear in Game 2 vs. Grizz

  • Written by Kelley Evans
  • Published in News

The Thunder roared on Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Arena, where they defeated Memphis 111-102 in front of a sold-out crowd (18,203).
The Grizz stare at defeat as Thunder fans see what they hoped for – a series-tying victory. (Photo by Warren Roseborough)

 Kelley Evans

OKLAHOMA CITY – The evening began early with an Oklahoma City Thunder block party.

And it ended with OKC shutting down the Grizzlies.

The Thunder roared on Tuesday at the Oklahoma City Arena, where they defeated Memphis 111-102 in front of a sold-out crowd (18,203).

Note to Grizz fans: the place was loud, flush with the home-court color (blue) and ripe with fans spewing plenty of mostly good-natured ribbing at Memphis and Grizz nation.

Translation: Queue up for Game 3 and a return-of-serve “hostile” environment at the FedExForum on Saturday.

Thunder fans were the momentum-builder that OKC desperately needed after a home-loss in game one of the NBA Western Conference semi-final match-up of 4 (OKC) vs. 8 (Memphis) last week.

“Honey, take your time walking into the arena because we are going to send Memphis home crying tonight,” was the quip one fan zinged my way.

I only asked for directions to the media entrance.

Just two nights prior, the Memphis Grizzlies showed up and showed out on the OKC home turf, defeating the Thunder 114-101 and putting the brakes on the fans’ beloved All-Star duo, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

“It was tough to lose Game 1, especially on our home floor,” said Durant. “However, that made us want to come back and win this one. We knew we had to come back and be even more prepared.”

And the OKC fans were on board, as if they’d attended a town hall meeting the night before.

“After that game they (Memphis) were just a little too boastful for me, and we’ve got their number tonight,” said another fan.

All I asked was for directions to the visitors’ locker room.

Oklahoma City fans were looking for an ear so they could let out their frustrations and I was the sounding board for the evening.

No worries on my end. I understand. Before becoming an unbiased sports writer (cough), I was an avid trash talker for my favorite team. In fact, I was the best at it.  So it didn’t surprise me that I became a de facto punching bag.

To some degree, OKC fans had cause to seek payback. Not only had they been beaten at home, they’d heard the Grizzlies post-game interviews from Game 1. The Grizzlies came to town, shut the Thunder down and then told the media exactly how they did it.

Grizz players explained how they meticulously forced Westbrook into a shooting frenzy, which in turn distracted him from defending. They detailed how they distracted Durant on offense and defense. And they noted how they quieted the fans.  

After Game 2, Randolph was asked if Oklahoma City played with a chip on its shoulders.

“They did,” he answered.  “We expected that of them. That’s exactly what they did.”

Durant provided confirmation.

“After losing Game 1 at home we had nothing else to do but play with a chip on our shoulder,” said Durant. “They came here and beat us pretty bad and we wanted to do the same to them.”

Randolph said the team just has to get ready for Game 3 Saturday at the FedExForum.

“We know we didn’t play well as a team tonight. We settled for too many jump shots,” he said.

“Now we just have to take care of home.”

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