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OKC Thunder notebook: Home advantage now in Memphis' court

Last season, the Thunder didn't lose a home playoff game until Game 2 of the NBA Finals, which turned out to be its final game of the season at Chesapeake Energy Arena. So far this season, OKC already has lost two home playoff games and has gone 3-3 at The Peake in its last six home games.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: May 8, 2013

COACH OF THE YEAR

Denver's George Karl has been an NBA coach for 25 seasons and is the active leader with 1,131 career victories, but it wasn't until Wednesday when he won his first NBA Coach of the Year award.

Karl captured 62 first-place votes from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters to win the award handily. Miami's Erik Spoelstra (24 first-place votes) was second, San Antonio's Gregg Popovich (11) third, Indiana's Frank Vogel (3) fourth and Memphis' Lionel Hollins (6) fifth.

A total of 14 coaches, all postseason qualifiers, received votes. The Thunder's Scott Brooks received three third-place votes and was last in the balloting.

The Nuggets finished with a league-best 38-3 (. 927) mark at home, the league's best record since Cleveland went 39-2 in 2008-09 at Quicken Loans Arena.

OUTRIGHT LEADER

Memphis point guard Mike Conley led the Grizzlies in points (26), rebounds (10) and assists (nine) in Game 2. No players tied him in any of those categories.

According to ESPN Stats, only one other player in Memphis history did that in a playoff game and that was Pau Gasol against the Phoenix Suns (2005) and the Dallas Mavericks (2006). The Grizzlies lost both those games.

Conley is just the fourth player in the last 25 seasons with at least 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists in a road playoff win, joining LeBron James, Michael Jordan and Baron Davis.

TIP-INS

Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will meet with reporters on Thursday morning for the first time since undergoing season-ending knee surgery 12 days ago. … Memphis scored 61 of its 99 points in the second (30) and fourth (31) quarters on Tuesday. … Game 2 was the 112th consecutive sellout at Chesapeake Energy Arena, including the postseason. … Game 5 of the series will be played Wednesday at The Peake at 8:30 p.m. and shown on TNT.

QUOTABLE

Thunder starting point guard Reggie Jackson on losing Game 2: “I let my guy (Conley) go one assist shy of a triple-double. You don't have to look too far to find how we lost tonight.”

BY JOHN ROHDE


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