The Grizzlies were fresh off a hard-fought, six-game series against No. 1-seeded San Antonio. Memphis had one day of rest and had to travel in between series.
Oklahoma City had three days of rest and was in the confines of its home arena. And all the Thunder got was its worst defensive effort in 3 1/2 months.
The Thunder hasn't allowed 114 points in regulation since winning a 125-124 shootout against Orlando on Jan. 13. Memphis scored at least 27 points in each period and put this one away by bullying the Thunder to the tune of 52 points in the paint.
“We actually can live with Zach getting his 30 (points),” said Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. “It's the other guys that we got to take out the picture.”
Those other guys, Grizzlies Sam Young, Tony Allen, Mike Conley and Shane Battier, combined to score 44 points on 17 of 39 shooting. The Thunder never made that quartet feel uncomfortable, as they combined for only two of the Grizzlies' unbelievably-low eight turnovers.
“Our energy has to be higher,” Collison said. “I feel like we didn't really play hard enough. We didn't play enough with an edge. A lot of the stuff when you play against them is kind of easier said than done. It's easy to say we want to keep a tight paint.
It's easy to say we want to battle them on the boards. But the effort is the hard part. We really have to have an edge against this team and we didn't have enough of it today.”
The silver lining for Oklahoma City is that it's easier to have an edge when you're staring at an 0-1 hole.
“It's nothing to panic about,” Perkins said. “I actually like this situation for us because it's our first time ever being down in a series since we've been together.
“It's going to put anger in you. You're going to hear everything in the world about ‘They were more physical than you, they were this, they outhustled you, they beat you on your home court.' All that (does) for me is give me a spark.”
The Thunder needs one Tuesday in the worst way.
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