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Oklahoma City Thunder: Memphis Grizzlies point guards Beno Udrih and Mike Conley set the tone in Game 2 win

Monday night, Beno Udrih and fellow Memphis point guard Mike Conley absolutely shredded Oklahoma City in the second game of this Western Conference playoff series. They put their heads down. They drove to the basket. They were the aggressors.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 21, 2014
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photo - Memphis' Mike Conley (11) shoots a basket as Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (25) defends during Game 2 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Memphis' Mike Conley (11) shoots a basket as Oklahoma City's Thabo Sefolosha (25) defends during Game 2 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 21, 2014. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

That kind of aggressiveness from the point guard position creates a conundrum for a defense. Do the bigs help off Randolph and Gasol when Conley or Udrih break through the first line? Do they leave the Grizzlies’ two biggest offensive weapons and give that point guard an easy assist?

No wonder the Grizzlies decided to press the issue even more in Game 2.

“We wanted to be aggressive as guards,” Conley said.

Joerger admitted that it wasn’t a matter of scheme. It wasn’t a matter of him going onto the chalkboard and drawing up a bunch of new sets and plays. It was a matter of attitude.

Conley and Udrih had to embody that Memphis grit-and-grind mentality.

“Those guys, they put their heads down,” Joerger said. “They got around the show guy. They got in the paint.”

That wasn’t a surprise with Conley. He’s given a lot of team fits, including the Thunder.

But Udrih?

He got cut by the Knicks.

“Beno was a guy that came in with the motto, ‘You stay ready,’” defensive stalwart Tony Allen said. “He was huge for us.”

Conley said, “I can’t say enough about him. When the point guards are making plays for our team, we go to another level. We definitely wanted to try to do that tonight.”

The Grizzlies did, and now the Thunder is going to have to figure out what to do with those point guards.

Maybe they should hope that backup Nick Calathes gets his drug suspension overturned. He couldn’t possibly be any more of a handful than Pistol Pete Udrih.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

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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