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

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

Beno Udrih got waived by the Knicks earlier this season.

Let that sink in. He couldn’t stick with the woeful Knicks.

Makes you wonder even more about the Knicks, doesn’t it?

Because Monday night, 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.

The winners, too.

Grizzlies 111, Thunder 105.

On a night when Memphis let it be known that it wasn’t going to go quietly into the postseason, it was the Grizzlies point guards who set the tone. Yes, this is a still a team that wins with its bigs, that relies on Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. But those guys get much better shots when the point guards move the ball and press the issue.

Monday night, they played like their hair was on fire.

“They just kind of were running around loosely tonight,” Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook said, “and we let ’em. We let ’em do it.”

Conley finished with 19 points and a game-high 12 assists while Udrih scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. At one point in the second half, he nearly had more points than Kevin Durant.

He got cut by the Knicks.

“Those guys being aggressive is a big key for us,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said of his point guards. “If we just stand there and let them attack us … ”

He never finished that thought about the Thunder, but I suspect if he did, it would’ve gone something like this — “We’ll be checking in uniforms next weekend.” An aggressive Thunder team is a hard-to-beat Thunder team.

“It’s about who attacks who and who is aggressive,” Joerger said.

One of the best things going for the Grizzlies in Game 1 was Conley putting the ball on the floor and going to the goal. They made their big second-half run when Conley started doing that. Whether it was Westbrook or his backup Reggie Jackson, the Thunder struggled to stay in front of Conley, and when they let him by, the backside help wasn’t always there.

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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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