Oklahoma City Thunder: Game 3 report card

Game 3 of Thunder-Grizzlies was a remarkable repeat of Game 2, down to a vaunted Thunder rally sparked by a four-point play and overtime domination by Memphis. And the grades reflect the Thunder’s game-long struggles.
by Berry Tramel Published: April 24, 2014
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photo - Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) slams the ball down as Memphis fans celebrate a Memphis basket during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., Thursday, April 24, 2014. Memphis won 98-95. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) slams the ball down as Memphis fans celebrate a Memphis basket during Game 3 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., Thursday, April 24, 2014. Memphis won 98-95. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Defending the point: C. Memphis’ two point guards again were effective. Conley finished with 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting, with five rebounds and three assists. Beno Udrih torched the Thunder again, with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. But at least the Thunder pressured the points more. Conley had four turnovers and Udrih three.

Star power: B. A music city like Memphis can draw some well-known acts. And so it did Thursday. Larry Dodson and the Bar-Kays, a renowned blues group from the 1960s through the 1980s, sang the national anthem. And Tag Team, the one-hit wonder hip-hop duo from the 1990s, performed at halftime that solitary hit, “Whoomp.” You might not think you know it, but you do. Not exactly Oklahoma City’s taste, but both played well to the Grizzlies fans.

Grit: A. A thousand things to shake your head about in this game. But give the Thunder this. This team doesn’t quit. Down 17 with 71/2 minutes left, down four with 30 seconds left in regulation, even down four with 1.7 seconds left in overtime. The Thunder doesn’t quit. Grind? OK, that’s Memphis’ domain. But grit? The Thunder has grit.

Bench: F. The Thunder reserves have gone vamoose. They combined for just nine points on 4-of-18 shooting. Only Nick Collison played well. Caron Butler and Reggie Jackson were ineffective for the second straight game. The plus/minuses were ugly – OKC was outscored by 13 during Butler’s 22 minutes, by 10 during Jackson’s 181/2 minutes, by 10 during Collison’s 161/2 minutes and by eight during Derek Fisher’s 151/2 minutes.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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