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Thunder starters get plenty of rest in win over Grizzlies

BY MIKE SHERMAN, Sports Editor, Modified: May 12, 2011 at 2:02 am •  Published: May 12, 2011

This time there were no Memphis rallies. No heart-stopping, game-tying 3-pointers by the Grizzlies. And after the sleep-deprived drama of Monday's triple-overtime victory in Game 4, the only legitimate dread Thunder fans could conjure Wednesday came at the start. Their tradition of standing until the first OKC basket lasted almost four minutes and accompanied a 6-0 Memphis start.

Tied 17-17 after a first quarter of scoring more befitting a Wheat Capitol tourney high school basketball game in Enid than an NBA Playoff game, the Thunder found its legs and stride in the final four minutes of the first half.

Three dunks — one each by Harden, Westbrook and Serge Ibaka — fed a 9-2 run that had OKC leading 46-35 at intermission.

By then, Hollins' pregame assertion that Monday night's triple-overtime game would impact both teams equally was proved false.

"I don't know if fatigue was a factor," Brooks said. "It wasn't for us."

All those minutes — two games at the FedExForum featuring four overtime periods — melted Memphis. Point guard Mike Conley, who ran a pick-and-roll clinic in the Grizzlies' Game 3 comeback victory, missed 11 of his first 14 shots. His first attempt of the second half, a driving layup, barely reached the rim.

Randolph, who terrorized OKC in Game 1 here and almost every time the teams have met before this series, missed 6 of his first 8 and sat down midway through the third quarter with his fourth foul. He finished with nine points after a fourth straight game of harassment from Collison and Co.

Twice in the first half Randolph never made it past half-court on Thunder offensive possessions, once standing in the Memphis lane watching an OKC fast break. He was even less active in the second half, when even Hollins had to admit the Grizzlies starters were "running in mud."