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OKC Thunder: 47-second stretch of second quarter was turning point in Game 2

Everything that went wrong from there only became a part of an avalanche that started as a snowball just before the end of the first half.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: May 8, 2013

Forty-seven seconds.

Forty-seven seconds cost the Thunder a win in Game 2 and a shot at heading to Memphis this weekend with a 2-0 series lead in its Western Conference semifinal against the Grizzlies.

And, no, it wasn't the final 47 seconds.

It actually was a 47-second stretch late the second quarter.

That stretch served as the turning point in the Thunder's 99-93 loss on Tuesday night. Everything that went wrong from there only became a part of an avalanche that started as a snowball just before the end of the first half.

It began when Zach Randolph missed a jumper with 2:06 remaining in the second quarter. While Kendrick Perkins was complaining about a Marc Gasol screen that had popped him in the mouth just before the shot, Gasol reached over Perkins and tipped the rebound to himself.

As the Thunder's defense scrambled to reset, Gasol skipped a pass to a wide open Mike Conley on the right wing. Conley missed a 3-point try, but Randolph, who was sandwiched in between Perkins and Serge Ibaka underneath the basket, grabbed the ricochet with one hand. He then fired it right back out to Conley.

Without hesitation, Conley drove the lane but launched a contested shot from in front of the rim. On the right block, Ibaka was face-guarding Randolph and pushing him away from the rebound. Randolph, however, wrapped his left arm around Ibaka's back, tapped the ball to the ground and raced to recover it near the 3-point line.

Three shots. Three offensive rebounds.

Forty-seven seconds.

Quincy Pondexter finally finished off the trip with a baseline jumper that pulled the Grizzlies within two with 1:40 remaining in the period.

His basket represented two of the 23 second-chance points Memphis managed in Game 2, a product of the Grizzlies grabbing 16 offensive rebounds.

It was a stark contrast from Game 1, when the Thunder yielded only eight offensive rebounds and, as a result, allowed just four second-chance points.

“We got to get back to making sure that we box them out,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, “because they're going to keep pushing and keep coming to the rim and we have to make sure we hold our ground there.”

The difference from Game 1 to Game 2 was clear.

Memphis played with more energy and effort.

Sometimes it's just that simple, though it's easy to get wrapped up in analyzing the schemes, strategies and adjustments of playoff basketball.

A quick study of the offensive rebounds the Thunder allowed in Game 2 showed exactly why Brooks after the game called the mistakes correctable.

If you were to review and categorize each of the Grizzlies offensive rebounds, you would come to a shocking conclusion.

Nine of the 16 were hustle plays, sequences in which Grizzlies players simply grabbed their own misses, beat the Thunder to loose balls or took advantage of numbers in transition. Another six were the result of the Thunder not boxing out, that fundamental element burning OKC when players inexplicably refused to put a body on someone.

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by Darnell Mayberry
Assist Editor/ NBA Coordinator
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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