NBA Playoffs: Grizzlies Head To First Ever Western Conference Finals

By Michael Ma

May 15, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) shoots over Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) during the second half of game five of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Grizzlies defeated the Thunder 88-84. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

 Memphis Grizzlies 88 Oklahoma City Thunder 84

How Memphis Won: For the first time in franchise history, the Grizzlies are going to the western conference finals behind their trademark grind-it-out mentality.  Memphis was in command throughout the game, and had a 12 point lead with three minutes left.  The Thunder were able to cut the lead to 86-84, but Kevin Durant missed a jumper with 6 seconds left to seal the win for the Grizzlies.

 Zach Randolph led the way with 28 points and 14 rebounds, while Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists.  Marc Gasol scored 10 points and grabbed 7 rebounds while Tony Allen chipped in with 11 points.

 How Oklahoma City Lost: The Thunder end their season at the heels Russell Westbrook’s injury.  The team is clearly not at the same level as they would be playing with Westbrook.  Durant scored 21 points but shot just 5 for 21, his third-worst performance in his playoff career.

OKC received a good lift from Serge Ibaka, who had been close to non-existent in the series.  Ibaka finished with 17 points and 8 rebounds, Reggie Jackson added 16 points and 9 rebounds, and Kevin Martin scored 10 points off the bench.

 It Was Over When: It seemed like the game was out of hand with 6 minutes left as the Grizzlies had stretched their lead to 12.  A 16-6 OKC rally cut the lead to 2 with 11 seconds left, and Durant missed a 15-foot jumper on the left wing.  Allen sunk a pair of free throws for Memphis and sealed the win.

 Quote of the Night: “That’s the shot that we wanted. … That’s the shot I will live with 100 times out of 100 times,” –Scott Brooks on Durant’s final shot

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