Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Nick Collison said it's important for teammates to help two-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant get loose offensively against the Memphis Grizzlies at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, but there is much more to winning Game 7 than that.
"We have to play better as a team. Our level of play just has to be higher," Collison said. "That will put Kevin in much better opportunities to succeed than we put him in (Friday night). So in terms of strategy, we're not going to do a whole lot different. We just need to play better. That's easier said than done sometimes, but there's really no magic solution."
FRIDAY THE 13TH
Friday the 13th began poorly for Memphis Grizzlies forward Sam Young, but ended well.
First, he had his car stolen. Then he lost his starting job in Game 6 to O.J. Mayo. In the end, however, the Grizzlies stayed alive with a 95-83 victory over the Thunder.
According to a Memphis Police report, Young's Chevy Camaro was stolen while he visited a walk-up ATM at South Main and Peabody Place. Witnesses saw a man with dreads drive away. Young said he left the car running.
Young's car is equipped with the On-Star communications and security system, which shut off the engine. The car was recovered in North Memphis unoccupied.
AINGE HAS REGRETS
Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge told the Boston Globe he regrets not re-signing Grizzlies guard and former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen.
"I would have fought harder to bring Tony Allen back," Ainge said. "We tried to sign Tony, we tried to come within our rules of staying in our two-year program. I think that Tony would have helped us. We offered Tony a two-year deal out of the gate, but then when Memphis showed him some love and he started thinking about the idea of more playing time ... Then, he wanted a change of scenery."
ALIVE IN BIG 'D'
The Dallas Mavericks face the OKC-Memphis winner in the Western Conference Finals and will have rested nine days by the time the series starts Tuesday at American Airlines Center.
"The thing that I want to make sure, and this is an important part of the next series, is that our fans don't lose their edge, that our building stays just as lively and more lively than it was in Game 3 and Game 4 for LA," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said Saturday. "Because this time of year we know the places we're going to be going into – Oklahoma City is going to be wild; Memphis is going to be wild – and our building has to be up to the same standards as the LA series because that really helps us."
Carlisle called off Saturday's practice and made it an optional work day.
Friday night marked the first time the Grizzlies survived a playoff elimination game (1-3), having previously been swept by San Antonio (2004), Phoenix (2005) and Dallas (2006). … Spotted talking to Allen in the Grizzlies locker room Friday night was former OSU assistant Glynn Cyprien, who is now an assistant at the University of Memphis. … In 12 playoff games, Memphis power forward Zach Randolph has four 30-10 performances.
Young, after his stolen car was recovered – "Thanks, On-Star."