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NBA playoffs: Grizzlies edge Thunder, even series

Published May 7, 2013 11:21 pm

Western Conference • Conley's 3-pointer puts Memphis ahead.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Oklahoma City • The Memphis Grizzlies wouldn't let Kevin Durant come through in the clutch for the second straight time.

This was Mike Conley's time to shine.

Conley scored 26 points and fueled a late Memphis run as the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-93 on Tuesday night to gain home-court advantage in the Western Conference semifinals.

Conley hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:58 left to put the Grizzlies ahead to stay and spark a string of 10 straight Memphis points.

The Grizzlies head home to play three of the next four games, with Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis.

"Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league, whether anybody likes it or not," said Tony Allen, who had two of his five steals in the final minute.

"I know a lot of people have got their favorites on who they think it should be, but Mike Conley is in that conversation now, being able to do these types of things on the court night in and night out."

In the first round, Conley outdueled All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

And now, he's filling the late-game void the Grizzlies created when they traded away leading scorer Rudy Gay in the middle of the season.

After Conley's go-ahead 3, he added an 18-foot jumper to stretch the lead to 94-90, then hit one of two free throws with 29.4 seconds left. He finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists, one shy of a triple-double.

"He played like he had been playing all season, and we needed that," coach Lionel Hollins said. "We needed to have somebody on the perimeter do something. He started getting to the basket a little bit and scored some big jump shots late."

After hitting the key baskets in Game 1, Durant couldn't provide an answer for the Thunder. He missed his last three shots, including a pair of 3-point attempts, and finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

The Thunder caught a break when Allen tipped the ball away and Conley saved it from going out of bounds, only for it to end up in Durant's hands in the corner. But Durant was off-target on a 3-pointer, and Oklahoma City was forced to foul.

Zach Randolph added two free throws, and Allen then stole the ball from Durant and provided the finishing touches with a dunk. Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer for Oklahoma City.

Neither team led by more than seven in a game destined to come down to the wire.

Memphis piled up a 48-30 scoring advantage in the paint and also outscored Oklahoma City 23-6 in second-chance points and 18-7 on the fast break. —

Storylines Late run keys win

R Mike Conley scores 26 points and Marc Gasol adds 24 for the Grizzlies. —

NBA playoffs

Tuesday's games

• New York 105,Indiana 79

Series tied 1-1

• Memphis 99,Oklahoma City 93

Series tied 1-1

Wednesday's games

• Chicago at Miami,5 p.m., TNT

Bulls lead series 1-0

• Golden State at San Antonio, 7:30 p.m., TNT

Spurs lead series 1-0