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Jenni Carlson: Thunder energy drained Grizzlies

by Jenni Carlson Published: May 12, 2011

Then again, when you're worn down, it's a lot easier to let down and give up.

The Grizzlies seemed flat all night. Even when they were controlling the game early, they weren't really dominating. They held the Thunder to only four points in the first seven-plus minutes of the game but never led by more than six points.

“Early on when we had energy, we kept shooting ourselves in the foot by missing layups or turning the ball over,” Hollins said. “That was huge.

“Then as the game went on, they got more physical.”

And his Grizzlies had no fight back.

“Not only were we physically down,” Hollins admitted, “we were probably down a little mentally.”

Here's how out of control this game got — Nate Robinson and Royal Ivey got playing time.

Lots of it.

Neither of the reserve guards had played at all during these playoffs, but both checked in with more than four minutes left in the game.

They were among the reserves who finished a fourth quarter in which the Thunder starters didn't play a single, solitary minute.

You know what that means — those young legs got to rest, got to chill, got a chance to be even little fresher for Game 6. Durant finished the game having played only 30 minutes. Westbrook played 25 minutes. No other starter played more than 22 minutes.

The Thunder will head to Memphis with a shot to clinch the series feeling good both mentally and physically.

Advantage, OKC.

“The series is not over by any means,” Hollins contended. “I'm sure a lot of you guys are writing about it being over. I still believe in my team. I'm sure we'll come back and regroup on the flight home and tomorrow and be ready for Friday night.”

Thing is, the Thunder and its young legs will be ready, too.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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