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Thunder notebook: Grizzlies now homeward bound

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: May 4, 2011

With their Western Conference semifinal playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder now 1-1, the Memphis Grizzlies get to return home for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday, respectively.

Both games at FedExForum are sold out (18,119), which gives Memphis more sellouts in the postseason (five) than the regular season (four).

Before this season, the No. 8-seeded Grizzlies hadn't had a winning record and hadn't advanced to the playoffs since 2006. They also have become more appealing nationally.

Then again, it's difficult to appreciate Memphis' ability when its games rarely are televised.

"It's more out of ignorance than anything else because no one knows about us. No one's ever watched us," Grizzlies veteran forward Shane Battier said. "People couldn't tell you what our color scheme is, for goodness sakes."

America also loves an underdog.

"It's easier to be the cowboy in the white hat versus the black hat, let's put it that way," Battier said. "It makes our life a little easier, not that it affects our play one way or the other. We appreciate our fans, but at the same time you don't get caught up in 'Who do we get to support us?' It's not about that, but it's a great time to be a Grizzlies fans."


After the Grizzlies called timeout with 9:18 left in Tuesday's game, Memphis reserve forward Darrell Arthur delivered a forearm shiver to Thunder reserve guard James Harden at center court while walking past.

Though none of the officials saw it, Harden's teammates certainly did. When Arthur walked back onto the court, he got an earful from OKC reserve guard Nate Robinson, who walked in stride in front of the Thunder bench from almost halfcourt to the baseline.

Twenty six seconds later, Arthur was whistled for a technical foul for holding onto Harden after fouling underneath. The sequence gave the Thunder an 89-73 lead.

Arthur left the Memphis locker room afterward without comment.


With 8:48 left in the second quarter on Game 2 on Tuesday night inside Oklahoma City Arena, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins was whistled for illegal defense and voiced his displeasure at referee Bill Kennedy.

Kennedy pointed harshly at Perkins and said, "Don't scream at me. Don't scream at me. Don't scream at me," while screaming.

At that moment, the Thunder had been called for 11 fouls compared to four for Memphis, which had 12 free throws to OKC's four.


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