Here’s how the Grizzlies are beating the Thunder


(EPA/Mike Brown)

The Grizzlies withstood the Thunder’s 17-0 run in the fourth quarter to secure a 98-95 win in Game 3, giving them a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference first-round series. Oklahoma City is now 0-5 all-time in Game 3’s that broke a 1-1 series tie – three of those losses have come against Memphis.

The Thunder got 30 points from Kevin Durant (37 percent effective field goal percentage) — who missed all eight of his attempts from beyond the three-point arc — and Russell Westbrook (42.3 percent eFG%). But it would be the Grizzlies’ reserves once again who would help solidify the win for Memphis.

(For the Fancy Stat-uninitiated, effective field goal percentage is a measure of a player’s shooting prowess that adjusts for the fact that three-point field goals are worth 50 percent more than two-point field goals. In other words, players are given 50 percent more credit for made three-pointers.)

Tony Allen and Beno Udrih would score 16 points and 12 points from the bench, respectively, and the Grizzlies’ reserves dominated Oklahoma City on the defensive boards as well.

Udrih’s 14 points in Game 2 were equal to all the Thunder’s reserves, and Thursday night he outscored Oklahoma City’s total of nine bench points.


“Beno has given us a huge boost. Tony’s been terrific. Mike Miller, he didn’t make a shot, but he changes the spacing on the floor completely,” Memphis Coach Dave Joerger said.

“We have to be better. We own up to it,” Durant said. “We’ve got to get guys involved, Caron, Reggie, Nick, Serge, everybody, Thabo. We’ll take that on our shoulders and figure it out.”

The Thunder needs to figure it out quick. According to WhoWins, when the road team takes a 2-1 series lead they have a 17-6 record in Game 4 and have gone on to win the series almost 70 percent of the time. 

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.

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Seth Partnow · April 24, 2014