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Beale Street Blues: Grizzlies Use OT Thriller To Take 2-1 Lead Over Thunder

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MEMPHIS, Tennessee -

The Thunder entered Game 3 with their eyes on recapturing home-court advantage and making a statement in Memphis. 

They left Game 3 searching for answers. 

The Grizzlies built a huge lead, the Thunder came back, and in yet another overtime, Memphis pulled out a 98-95 thriller.

This thing was ugly for about 40 minutes.  The Thunder couldn't hit shots. They couldn't protect the rim. They couldn't get to the hole offensively.  Memphis was large and in charge.

To be exact, the Thunder trailed 81-64 with just 7:43 to play. All hope appeared lost.

But never count out Oklahoma City. 

Thabo Sefolosha drained three free throws. Then Kendrick Perkins hit a short jumper, and just a minute later Serge Ibaka layed one in. In less than a minute, Oklahoma City was within 10. 

The Grizzlies signaled for a full timeout, but their offensive slump was just getting started. 

Three Thunder free throws brought OKC within 81-74, then a Perkins follow layup with 3:18 to play cut the deficit to just five. 

Durant followed that with a driving dunk to bring OKC within three at the 2:06 mark and forced Memphis into another timeout. 

The Grizz failed to score again, allowing Russell Westbrook to drain a game-tying 3-ball with 57 seconds left.

Oklahoma City then entered mini-meltdown mode.  Tony Allen drove right to the rim for a layup with 45 seconds left, snapping the Thunder's 17-0 run.  On the Thunder's next posession, OKC threw the ball away and Allen streaked down the court for a layup and a four-point lead with just 33 seconds left. 

But then, as if this were a deja-vu case study, the Thunder pulled another miracle out of the bag. 

Westbrook pulled up and drained a 3-pointer.  Plus one.  Another four-point play.  Another game-tying four-point play. Another overtime-forcing four-point play...

...followed by another overtime heartbreaker. 

Like a replay of Game 2, the Grizzlies regrouped and found a way in the extra session.  The Thunder took an early three-point lead, but Memphis rattled off eight in a row to take a 93-88 lead and seize control.

Durant and Westbrook each scored 30, but it took them a boatload of shots to get there. Durant shot just 10-27 from the floor and 0-8 from downtown.  Westbrook shot 9-26 from the field and 4-13 from deep.  Durant added nine boards and five blocks, while Westbrook chipped in 13 boards.

The Thunder shot less than 40 percent for the second straight game. OKC hit just 39 percent from the floor and 5-28 (18 percent) from downtown.

"We gotta make some shots, it comes down to (that)," coach Scott Brooks explained. "I don't know if they were all good shots, I'll find out tonight after I watch the film, but we are a shot-making team. I expect the guys to come out Saturday shooting with confidence."

The Grizzlies had six players in double figures, led by Mike Conley's 20 points.  Allen and Zach Randolph each scored 16 points, while Marc Gasol chipped in 14. 

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, in all-time best-of-7series tied 1-1, the Game 3 winner has won 76.8 percent of the series.

Game 4 is Saturday, where the Thunder begins its journey to becoming part of the 23.2 percent.

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