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Thunder outlast Grizz in triple-overtime epic

Two young teams. A triple-overtime. Game-changing three pointers. History-making statistics. All of this took place during the longest game – regular season and the playoffs – of the Grizzlies’ now magical tenth season. Two young teams. A triple-overtime. Game-changing three pointers. History-making statistics. All of this took place during the longest game – regular season and the playoffs – of the Grizzlies’ now magical tenth season.

 
Mike Conley (left) and Tony Allen of the Grizzlies apply defensive pressure on Russell Westbrook of OKC. Westbook’s offensive pressure – 40 points – was a big part of the Grizz’s undoing in Game 4. (Photos by Warren Roseborough)

 
Grizz rookie Greivis Vasquez seemed to create a way out of no way, scoring on this layup and then converting the foul shot.

 
Points in the paint were hard earned throughout Game 4. Zach Randolph of the Grizz battles down low with Kendrick Perkins (l) and Nick Collison (4) of the Thunder.

 
The Thunder trio of (l-r) Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant were spent but satisfied after the Game 4, triple-overtime classic.

Game 4 of Memphis’ NBA Western Conference Semifinal battle ended the morning after it began. And as the four-hour epic crossed the midnight threshold into history, the reality of the finish set in. The Grizzlies ran out of gas as the Oklahoma City Thunder prevailed with a 133-123 victory, tying the series 2-2.

Memphis’ first home loss of the postseason was a “Beale Street brawl” with a gang of eventful storylines that took the Grizzlies from being up by 18 to the short end of a classic.

Grizz fans kept the faith at the FedExForum as the game kept going, and going and going. A game that started at 8:30 pm CST on Monday (May 9) didn’t end until 12:40 am on Tuesday.

The triple-overtime NBA playoff game was the first since Chicago defeated Boston, 128-127, on April 30, 2009.

The Grizzlies set a franchise playoff record for total points, passing the May 1, 2005 game against the Phoenix Suns.

They also tied its franchise record for total rebounds (55).

Mike Conley started the overtime madness. Memphis closed the fourth quarter on 14-4 run that Conley punctuated with a 26-foot three-pointer with 3.5 seconds left on the clock.

Whew!

Conley and Memphis' O.J. Mayo fouled out during the first overtime. Then with the clock ticking down on the first overtime, and Memphis down by three, Grizz rookie Greivis Vasquez contorted his body to get shooting room and made an improbable looking three-pointer that ushered in double-overtime and Grizz-nation delirium.

Rewind to the first quarter and the idea of a triple overtime becomes even more far-fetched. Memphis was dominant, leading 28 to 16 at the break. At one point in the first half, the Grizz led by 18, but by halftime, the Thunder trailed by only four points.

weighed in.

“We have to learn how to take care of leads better,” said Grizz forward Zach Randolph.  “It was a tough loss, we had our chances.”

How’s this for chances? According to the Elias Sports Bureau, when a series is tied a two games apiece, the team with home court advantage will win the series a 73.9 percent of the time.

Advantage OKC?

“We just have to regroup,” Randolph said.  “It’s a quick turnaround.  It’s not over by far.  We just have to get our composure – get our rest tonight. It was a dogfight. We have to scratch and claw.”

Oklahoma City’s top dogs said the game was “fun.”

“It was just the stakes of the game and the level of the competition, said Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.  “It was definitely one of the best games I’ve played and competed in.  It was fun.”

All-Star forward Kevin Durant said he was glad to be part of such a game.

“Both teams made big plays. We had a good lead with a minute left. They hit some good shots.  You have to give them credit for that,” said Durant.

“We stuck with it and didn’t let that get us down.  It (the game) was something that people are going to be talking about for a while.  

Grizzlies Head Coach Lionel Hollins said it was a great basketball game for the fans and for the NBA.

“Both teams kept coming back, and fighting; it just became a matter of not having enough bullets as the game wore on,” said Hollins.

“I commend both teams for the effort that they gave and the way that they fought.  Nobody wanted to go home. Nobody wanted to lose."

Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said emotions were high.

“Both teams played as hard as you can possibly play a basketball game,” Brooks said.  “Every ounce of energy that you had in your body, you gave it to your team – our team, their team.”

NEXT: Game 5, Wednesday in Oklahoma City. Game 6, Friday at the FedExForum. Game 7 in OKC, if needed.


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