Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Game 3 Postgame Grades and Analysis

Peter Emerick@@peteremerickSenior Writer IIMay 12, 2013

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Game 3 Postgame Grades and Analysis

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    The Memphis Grizzlies scored an impressive 87-81 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 3, en route to holding a 2-1 series lead over the reigning Western Conference champs.

    While Kevin Durant kept his team in this one with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half, he couldn't get it done in the second half, missing two clutch free throws that sunk the Thunder for good. 

    The Grizzlies took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter, after the Thunder shot an abysmal 4-of-20 from the floor in the third quarter.

    Marc Gasol led the way in the second half, powering his way past the Thunder's defense, with 12 points in the third quarter, leading the Grizzlies on their second-half surge.

    Gasol capped off his impressive performance with two huge free throws with the game knotted at 81 a piece, giving the Grizzlies the lead for good. 

    The Thunder's biggest weakness in Game 3 was their inability to keep everyone involved in the offense, as evidenced by their 10 measly assists.

    Moving forward, the Thunder absolutely must get production from players not named Kevin Durant, because right now, that's where the majority of the efficient production is coming from.

    Up next is a must-win for both teams—mainly the Thunder—on Monday night at FedExForum, set to tip off at 9:30 p.m. ET. It's one you won't want to miss, as it's Durant's chance to put his team on his back, and it's the Grizzlies' shot at nearly clinching the series. 

Point Guards

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    Reggie Jackson, PG Thunder

    Reggie Jackson is certainly making a name for himself this postseason, and he helped himself out with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

    The only problem was that Jackson didn't have a very consistent game, as evidenced by the following two-minute stretch in the fourth quarter of Game 3.

    He had a pivotal steal and slam with 3:03 left in the fourth quarter which cut the Grizzlies lead to just two. But he followed that up with a costly out-of-control charge that was called with 1:31 left in the fourth that led to two big free throws for Marc Gasol that put the Grizzlies ahead, 83-81, with 1:03 left.

    The Grizzlies led from that point forward, and Jackson's charge was a true game-changer for the Thunder.

    Overall Grade: B-


    Mike Conley, PG Grizzlies

    Game 3 wasn't as productive for Mike Conley as Game 2 was, but his performance showed why he's a next-level star in the NBA.

    Conley showed that he doesn't force his style of play on the game, he, instead, does what his team needs him to do.

    On Saturday afternoon, the Grizzlies needed him to be productive and balanced with the ball, which he was with 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.

    However, Conley was held back by his four turnovers, one of which nearly turned the tide of the game in the final few minutes of the fourth quarter.

    Conley needs to shoot better than 3-of-9 from the floor moving forward, and four turnovers is four too many, but he still got the job done for Memphis and that's all that matters.  

    Overall Grade: B-

Shooting Guards

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    Thabo Sefolosha, SG Thunder

    Thabo Sefolosha had an absolutely awful first half, with zero points on 0-of-4 shooting from the field. 

    It didn't get much better for the Thunder's placeholder, as he ended a pivotal Game 3 with just two points on 0-of-4 shooting.

    He did account for four rebounds and two assists, but Sefolosha did a terrible job of working off screens and shutting down the Grizzlies' perimeter offense, especially in the first half.

    If Sefolosha can't find a way to get into the lane, coming off screens and cutting to the basket, the Thunder are going to continue to struggle because they aren't getting balanced production from their starting unit.

    Overall Grade: D+


    Tony Allen, SG Grizzlies 

    With 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting in the first half, Tony Allen gave the Grizzlies the spark they needed to get Game 3 started with a bang. 

    While he scored just three points in the final two quarters, his defensive pressure was extremely valuable down the stretch. 

    Allen accounted for two steals, and he pestered Durant in the final quarter, forcing him to settle for shots that he didn't look comfortable taking.

    Without Allen's aggressive play, the Grizzlies wouldn't be up in this series. Sure, at times, Allen is putting up questionable shots or overcommitting himself on defense, but he makes up for it with his relentless motor. 

    He gets an "A" for effort and "B+" for overall impact on the game.

    Overall Grade: B+

Small Forwards

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    Kevin Durant, SF Thunder

    It was a tale of two halves for Kevin Durant.

    In the first half, he put up LeBron James-esque numbers with 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. 

    Unfortunately, it all changed for him in the second half, as he shot just 3-of-11 from the floor with nine points, eight rebounds and one additional assist. 

    You have to wonder if the pressure is getting to an unbearable point for Durant, considering the talent he has around him. 

    It's a rarity that Durant misses even one of two free throws, and he missed a pair with the Thunder down, 85-81, and just 39.3 left in the game. Durant can't do it alone, and we're starting to see that in this series with Memphis. 

    He needs other guys like Kevin Martin and Serge Ibaka to step up their game, because 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists wasn't even enough to lead the Thunder.

    Overall Grade: B-


    Tayshaun Prince, SF Grizzlies

    Taysaun Prince was a non-factor for the Grizzlies, with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting from the field. 

    Aside from the additional four rebounds and one assist he accounted for, Prince's impact on the game was highly minimized.

    Defensively speaking, Prince wasn't anything to write home about either. Luckily, the Grizzlies didn't need much from Prince because guys like Jerryd Bayless and Quincy Pondexter picked up the slack for him coming off the bench.

    Overall Grade: C-

Power Forwards

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    Serge Ibaka, PF Thunder

    Durant needed some serious help on Saturday afternoon, and Ibaka just couldn't get it done.

    While he did have a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, with four blocked shots, he shot just 6-of-17 from the floor and committed four personal fouls.

    Instead of settling for his jumper when it's not consistently falling, Ibaka needs to take the ball into the paint and try to score at the rim. Not only are they higher percentage opportunities, they also has the possibility of getting the Grizzlies' frontcourt tandem of Gasol and Randolph in foul trouble.

    In the next two or three games, the Thunder need Ibaka to prove that they were right in keeping him over James Harden, because right now, it looks like they made the wrong decision.

    Overall Grade: C+


    Zach Randolph, PF Grizzlies

    It wasn't Zach Randolph's most efficient performance, with just eight points and 10 rebounds on 4-of-12 shooting.

    Luckily, the Grizzlies got it done without high numbers from Randolph, but it is concerning that he was so off from the field—in addition to not being able to get to the line even once throughout the game.

    Defensively speaking, Randolph wasn't necessarily a factor as he allowed the Thunder to score more than half of their 81 points in the paint.

    Aggressive and efficient play is a must for Randolph as the series rages on, because the Grizzlies won't be able to consistently win with him scoring under 10 points. 

    Overall Grade: C


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    Kendrick Perkins, C Thunder

    The lack of production the Thunder get from Kendrick Perkins is starting to take its toll on their chances of advancing to the Western Conference Finals.

    Perkins had an awful game with just two points and three rebounds in 17 minutes of action..

    While he grabbed three offensive rebounds in those minutes, he also committed two personal fouls and allowed the Grizzlies bigs to get high-percentage looks in the paint.

    I know it's not going to happen, but the Thunder need offensive production from Perkins if they are going to beat the Grizzlies, because the Grizzlies' frontcourt is putting him to shame on both sides of the ball. 

    Overall Grade: D-


    Marc Gasol, C Grizzlies

    It took awhile for Gasol to heat up, after just four points on 2-of-4 shooting in the first half, but he came alive in the second half, ending the night with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field. 

    Gasol went off for 12 of his 20 points in the third quarter, which played a major role in the Grizzlies seven-point advantage at the end of the third.

    Most impressive, though, about Gasol's Game 3 performance were his nine trips to the line.

    He also reminded us why he was deserving of the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year award, with two blocks and consistent contesting of the Thunder's shots around the paint.

    Overall, it was a productive and balanced night for Gasol, who ended with 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots.

    Overall Grade: A-

Sixth Men

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    Kevin Martin, SG Thunder

    After scoring nine points on 4-of-9 shooting in the first half, Martin cooled off in the second half, ending with just 13 points on 6-of-17 shooting on the afternoon.

    Efficiency is the name of the game for Martin, and every since his 25-point performance on 57.1 percent shooting in Game 1, he's been anything but efficient.

    There's just no way around the fact that Martin's inability to produce for the Thunder off the bench is really holding Oklahoma City back in this series.

    If Martin doesn't find his stroke, he and the Thunder will be watching the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals—that's how important he is to the Thunder's success.

    Overall Grade: C-


    Jerryd Bayless, PG Grizzlies

    Jerryd Bayless accounted for eight points on 4-of-8 shooting in the first half, and like his sixth-man counterpart, he cooled off in the second half. 

    Bayless scored just three points in the second half, but his lone bucket in the half came with 7:40 left in the fourth that extended the Grizzlies' lead to four points after a run from the Thunder.

    Moving forward, it's all about efficiency for Bayless, as 5-of-13 shooting isn't going to cut it on a regular basis for the trigger-happy point guard. 

    Overall Grade: C-

    Overall Grade: C


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    Oklahoma City Thunder's Bench

    The Thunder's bench was anything but efficient, scoring 23 of the Thunder's 81 points, but shooting a combined 10-of-29 from the field. 

    Nick Collison needs to get more minutes, because he gives the Thunder much more production at the center position than Kendrick Perkins does. 

    Collison had two points and eight rebounds (four offensive) in just 14 minutes, and he was a constant source of energy and hustle for Oklahoma City. 

    Derek Fisher jacked up a very questionable three-pointer, with the Thunder down just four points with under 30 seconds left in the game, and that minimized the impact of his eight points.

    All in all, the Thunder's bench was underwhelming, and the Thunder absolutely can't beat the grizzlies if they continue to play like that.

    Overall Grade: C- 


    Memphis Grizzlies' Bench 

    The Grizzlies' bench scored 29 of the Grizzlies' 87 points, and it shot an impressive 12-of-24 from the field. 

    The difference between the two benches is simply efficiency, and that helped the Grizzlies come out on top in Game 3.

    Pondexter's nine points on 4-of-5 shooting helped the Grizzlies push ahead in the fourth quarter.

    Overall, the Grizzlies' bench was productive and efficient, which is all you can really ask for in such a competitive playoff series.

    Overall Grade: B+