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Mike Conley dominates in crunch time, Memphis takes command of series

by Berry Tramel Published: May 8, 2013

This time, Mike Conley dominated crunch time. This time, the Grizzlies won the final two minutes.

And now Memphis is in command of this Western Conference semifinal series.

Memphis beat the Thunder 99-93 by dominating down the stretch to win Game 2 Tuesday night and even this Western Conference semifinal at a game apiece.

Conley scored six straight points to wipe out a 90-89 Thunder lead, Kevin Durant failed to duplicate his Game 1 magic and now the series shifts to Memphis, with the Grizzlies going back with the homecourt advantage and the Thunder still learning to play without Russell Westbrook.

The winner of this one looked like it would control the series. And that means Memphis.

The Thunder will have to win in Memphis without the crowd that tried to will it to victory Tuesday night.

The Thunder had its chances. Durant's driving dunk and subsequent 3-point play gave the Thunder an 88-86 lead with 3:18 left. But that was the Thunder's final field goal until Derek Fisher's meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Kendrick Perkins gave OKC its final lead, 90-89, with two foul shots at 2:41, but five straight empty possessions followed for the Thunder.

Memphis defense, the NBA's best, kicked into high gear. Tony Allen dogged Durant, even though Memphis coach Lionel Hollins had said Allen wasn't big enough to guard Durant, and the Grizzlies' big men gave up nothing inside.

Durant missed an open 3-pointer trailing 92-90, then his next two possessions were disastrous – a turnover, then a missed 3-pointer. That spelled doom on a night when Conley rose to the occasion.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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