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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Game 2 Postgame Grades and Analysis

Peter EmerickSenior Writer IISeptember 23, 2016

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Game 2 Postgame Grades and Analysis

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    The Memphis Grizzlies evened up their series with the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 99-93 win as the series now heads back to FedExForum for Games 3 and 4.

    Mike Conley, who ended the night one assist shy of a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, led the Grizzlies by also shooting an impressive 50 percent from the field.

    As expected, Kevin Durant did all he could for the Thunder with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, but the Grizzlies held him scoreless in the final three minutes, 15 seconds of the game.

    The real difference-maker was the differential on the offensive glass, which was 16-8 in favor of the Grizzlies.

    The Grizzlies also scored 29 points off of turnovers, which was something the Thunder just couldn't overcome. 

    Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol also dominated the Thunder's interior, with 39 combined points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field. 

    Game 3 of this intense series will be back in Memphis on Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET. 

Point Guards

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    Mike Conley, PG Grizzlies

    Mike Conley absolutely owned Game 2 for the Grizzlies, ending the night just one assist shy of a triple-double.

    He accounted for 25 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and he committed just two turnovers while shooting 11-of-22 from the field.

    It's encouraging for the Grizzlies to see Conley take such an aggressive approach, as he averaged just 11.8 field-goal attempts per game. He's certainly benefiting from Russell Westbrook's absence, and that's exactly what he should be doing.

    His Game 2 performance was a major reason why the Grizzlies are all tied up at one game apiece as they head back to Memphis.

    Overall Grade: A


    Reggie Jackson, PG Thunder

    Russell Westbrook's presence was sorely missed in Game 2, and it wasn't only because Reggie Jackson didn't show up on the offensive side of the ball.

    It was the lack of Westbrook's defensive pressure that the Thunder sorely missed. Jackson's perimeter defense just wasn't enough to stop Mike Conley throughout the night.

    Jackson ended the night with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and 0-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc, while also dishing out a measly two assists.

    The Thunder were better off with Derek Fisher at the point in Game 2. Jackson has to step up his production on both sides of the ball in the next few games if the Thunder are going to win a game in Memphis.

    Overall Grade: C-

Shooting Guards

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    Tony Allen, SG Grizzlies

    The most impressive part of Tony Allen's game, as usual, was his terrific defense on Kevin Durant in the final few minutes.

    Allen clamped down on Durant, holding him scoreless from the field in the final 3:15 of the game.

    Allen also had a productive game when he wasn't guarding Durant, forcing five steals and locking down the Thunder's perimeter offense throughout the night. He also grabbed five offensive rebounds, which bolstered the Grizzlies' second-chance production. 

    His offensive performance, with 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, wasn't anything to write home about, but it was capped off by a fast-break slam with a few seconds left that sent a statement to the Thunder.

    Overall Grade: B+


    Thabo Sefolosha, SG Thunder

    The Thunder, and specifically Kevin Durant, desperately need the rest of the team to step up, and Thabo Sefolosha didn't do that in Game 2. 

    He played 23 minutes, scored seven points on 2-of-4 shooting, and grabbed three rebounds and dished out three assists. He also committed two turnovers.

    It's time for Sefolosha to become more aggressive on the offensive side of the ball in terms of backdoor cuts and drives into the paint.

    If Sefolosha continues to be below-average, the Thunder don't really have a chance at slowing down the Grizzlies, especially in Memphis.

    Overall Grade: C-

Small Forwards

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    Tayshaun Prince, SF Grizzlies

    Game 2 wasn't very pretty for Tayshaun Prince, as he ended the night with just four points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field. 

    While he backed that up with five rebounds, two assists and a steal, Prince just wasn't "on" during Game 2.

    Luckily everyone else around him stepped up, which allowed Prince to focus his energy and efforts on the defensive side of the ball, which is where the vast majority of his impact was made. 

    Prince also happened to be the only Grizzlies starter not in double digits.

    Overall Grade: C


    Kevin Durant, SF Thunder

    Raise your hand if you picked Derek Fisher to end the first half with more points than Kevin Durant—14-13 in favor of Fisher.

    OK, so now that no one's hand is in the air, let's move forward

    Durant had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds in the first half, and he only put up six field goals. His production through the first two quarters was balanced, but Durant wasn't productive enough to give the Thunder the lead at the half.

    He stepped it up in the second half though, capping his 11-point third quarter with a massive slam over Darrell Arthur.

    Durant ended the night just one assist shy of a triple-double, with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, all while shooting 11-of-21 from the floor.

    What held Durant's solid performance back was his five turnovers and his inability to break through the Grizzlies' double-teams down the stretch—as Durant went scoreless in the final 3:15 of the game.

    Durant can't do it alone, and that was painfully evident for the Thunder in Game 2 in spite of an All-Star performance by Durant.

    Overall Grade: A

Power Forwards

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    Zach Randolph, PF Grizzlies

    Zach Randolph was opportunistic in Game 2, with 15 points, eight rebounds (four offensive), three assists and a steal, while shooting 50 percent from the field. 

    Most impressive though were the zero turnovers he committed throughout 43 minutes of action.

    Randolph pounded the offensive glass and earned his paycheck by creating second-chance opportunities for his team. 

    Watching Randolph hold back his emotions, not allowing Kendrick Perkins to get under his skin, was certainly encouraging to see as well. 

    Overall Grade: B+


    Serge Ibaka, PF Thunder

    Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol kept Serge Ibaka off the glass, as he ended the night with just five rebounds, and that was a major difference-maker throughout the night.

    Ibaka ended with 11 points and three blocks, but he also had five fouls, which limited his productivity and intensity on the defensive side of the ball late in the game.

    The Thunder need Ibaka to be more aggressive and productive around the glass, because without second-chance opportunities, the Thunder are a much less dangerous team.

    Defensively speaking, Ibaka kept Randolph in check, but again, without production on the glass, Ibaka's impact is greatly minimized. 

    Overall Grade: C+


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    Marc Gasol, C Grizzlies

    The main reason why the Grizzlies had a three-point lead at the end of the first half was because of Marc Gasol's 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field and 5-of-5 shooting from the line.

    Gasol's first bucket of the second half came with under two minutes, thanks to tough double-teams brought each and every time he touched the ball. 

    After a frustrating third quarter, Gasol turned it up in the fourth, as he scored five big points and continued to dominate the paint.

    Gasol ended the night with 24 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block, while shooting 8-of-13 from the field.

    It's clear that Gasol has quite an argument for being the most well-rounded big man in the NBA. Just ask the Thunder how they feel about that.

    Overall Grade: A


    Kendrick Perkins, C Thunder

    All you need to know about Kendrick Perkin's Game 2 performance is that he missed two point-blank shots in the third quarter, including a blown uncontested layup attempt.

    Aside from trying to get under Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol's skin, Perkins did absolutely nothing for the Thunder aside from three offensive rebounds—ending the night with four points, six rebounds and three turnovers. 

    Scott Brooks doesn't really have a better option than Perkins, but it's clear that he's not going to have much of an impact on this series unless something drastically changes. 

    Marc Gasol destroyed Perkins out on the perimeter, and he'll continue to do that throughout the series if Perkins doesn't step his game up.

    Overall Grade: D+

Sixth Man

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    Jerryd Bayless, PG Grizzlies

    It wasn't a good night to be a sixth man. 

    Jerryd Bayless ended Game 2 with seven points on 1-of-6 shooting, with four rebounds and an assist in 22 minutes of action

    Bayless just didn't do all that much aside from missing perimeter shots. At least he got to the line to get the Grizzlies some points. 

    Overall Grade: D+


    Kevin Martin, SG Thunder

    Kevin Martin followed up his 25-point performance in Game 1 with a dud that started with a weak first half in Game 2—scoring four points on 1-of-5 shooting in the first two quarters.

    Martin ended the night with six points on 2-of-11 shooting, with one rebound, one assist, one steal, one block and one turnover.

    He got outplayed by Derek Fisher and wasn't a factor defensively. All in all, it was a very forgettable night for Martin. At least we learned that he's the X-factor for the Thunder, because Durant will get his points, but if Martin can't produce, then beating the Grizzlies is going to be extremely difficult.

    Overall Grade: F


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    Grizzlies Bench

    Quincy Pondexter led the Grizzlies bench in the first half, with five points on 2-of-2 shooting, with both field goals coming on the Grizzlies' 12-4 run to end the first half.

    Darrell Arthur had the bonehead play of the series when he fouled Kevin Durant with 0.9 seconds left in the third quarter behind the half-court line.

    The Grizzlies bench ended Game 2 shooting 5-of-17 from the floor and accounting for 18 of the Grizzlies' 99 points. It wasn't necessarily awful, but their performance certainly wasn't positive either.

    Depth and efficiency will be key to closing out this series in the next few games.

    Overall Grade: C


    Thunder Bench

    Talk about a difference-maker for the Thunder. Derek Fisher was absolutely sensational in the first half for the Thunder, with 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field and 3-of-3 shooting from beyond the arc.

    For a minute I thought Stephen Curry had suited up for the Thunder the way Fisher was knocking down shots.

    Fisher outperformed everyone coming off the Thunder's bench, including Kevin Martin. It was like we were watching Fisher from six or seven years ago. He was all over the floor on defense and efficient on offense.

    Fisher ended the night with 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field and 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. The only problem was that he scored just five points in the final two quarters, when the Thunder needed more production from him.

    No one else did anything for the Thunder coming off the bench, but Fisher's performance was enough to make that not matter one bit.

    Overall Grade: B+

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