Beno Udrih was threatening to outscore Kevin Durant.
Tony Allen was making life miserable for anyone in a Thunder uniform. And Oklahoma City fans were leaving The Peake early Monday night.
Then, Thabo Sefolosha came up with a steal that led to a dunk, Durant made a circus four-point play, and Kendrick Perkins — Perk! — scored on a putback as time expired to send Game 2 of this NBA Western Conference playoff series to overtime.
Don’t you love playoff basketball?
It set up a drama-filled overtime where neither team led by more than two possessions, but the Thunder could never get over the hump.
Memphis 111, OKC 105.
“What a great game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “Both teams really competed and left everything on the floor.”
The Grizzlies evened the series at one win apiece. Now with the series moving to Memphis — Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, Game 4 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday — the Grizzlies have a chance to defend home hardwood and push the Thunder to the brink of elimination.
But it doesn’t seem like this series will be one that either team can dominate. This is the third time in four seasons that these two teams have met in the playoffs, and the first meeting in 2011 went a full seven games while the second go-around in 2013 went five games. OKC played without Russell Westbrook but still pushed the Grizzlies in every game.
This has the look of another close series. If a back-and-forth Game 1 wasn’t a sign of that, the overtime Game 2 surely was.
“The game was never over,” Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said. “A lot of great plays. And not just the-ball-going-in plays. Guys competing. Teams competing. We made some big shots. They made some big shots. Got some big stops.”
Memphis dominated much of Monday night as OKC got off to a rough start, hitting only 5 of 19 shots in the first quarter. But the Grizzlies weren’t able to build a lead any bigger than 10 points.
The Thunder cut the lead to three points at halftime, and the game would stay close the rest of the way. The biggest second-half lead was nine points.
Still, the Thunder found itself down five points with 18.1 seconds left after Mike Conley hit a pair of free throws. The home team managed to erase that deficit and force overtime.
The difference in the extra frame: the Grizzlies dogging Durant and Co.
Durant finished the game with 36 points, but he needed 28 shots to get there. And in overtime, he went 2 of 5 as Allen made every touch difficult.
“He did a terrific job just kind of harassing him,” Joerger said of Allen. “Not letting him get a catch where he wants to get a catch. Tony was tremendous.”
And with Durant out of sync, it seemed to leave the rest of the Thunder grasping on the offensive end. No other player scored in overtime. That wasn’t enough to overcome the Grizzlies, who got six points from Zach Randolph in overtime. He finished with a team-high 25 points.
“We put ourselves in position to win a basketball game and they made more plays than we did,” Durant said. “That’s the name of the game.
“We’re not panicking.”