Despite a productive outing from Reggie Jackson, who did this, the Thunder were unable to steal a win in Memphis in game three.
The game was a defensive grind from start to finish. The Grizzlies’ defensive game plan worked excellently and they did a great job of keeping Kevin Durant from dominating the game. (Durant only attempted 19 field goals, while Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin each took 17.) They also did a fantastic job of playing physical defense without putting the Thunder on the line–OKC finished with 19 free throw attempts. Outside of a couple of times that the Grizz allowed Durant to fly to the rim unmolested, Memphis pitched a defensive masterpiece.
The Thunder matched the Grizzlies’ defensive intensity for most of the night. The Grizzlies weren’t able to get many good looks at the rim from deep and their big men were challenged aggressively throughout. The Thunder managed to neutralize Zach Randolph and everybody on the Grizzlies seemed to be running in quicksand on the offensive end.
Everyone except for Marc Gasol, that is. Gasol not only was a force on the glass, he also handed out some sweet dimes to Tony Allen. At the end of the game, it was all Gasol for Memphis. He came up with big buckets and, when Kevin Durant was missing clutch freebies (KD finished 5-9 at the line including two consecutive misses in the final minute) Gasol was icing charity shots at the other end.
Having won the defensive battle, the Grizzlies lead the series 2-1.
The Knicks-Pacers game was also a grind highlighted by high level defense, as the Pacers won despite scoring only 82 points.
The Pacers were their usual great defensive selves and an abominable offensive performance from the Knicks made them look even better. In total, the Knicks had one player reach double digits in points. (Not a typo. I promise.) And, as a team, New York shot 35% from the field.
To their credit, the Knicks did play great defense and the Pacers also shot 35%, but Indiana killed on the boards. As a point of contrast, four Pacers players finished in double digits.
While the offense wasn’t flowing easily in the NY-Indiana game, it was a great one to watch. It was a very chippy contest throughout and both teams came to compete, if not to score points. The Bulls-Heat series has already seen its fair share of dustups. A fracas or two may be forthcoming in the Knicks-Pacers series as well.