Zach Randolph remembers blowing a 22-point lead in the second quarter. For Tony Allen, the play that stands out came when Russell Westbrook threw a left-handed pass jumping out of bounds to James Harden for a crucial 3-pointer in the first overtime.
Oh yes, the Grizzlies have been here before. They hold a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference semifinals over the same team — Oklahoma City — that beat them 133-123 in triple overtime to tie the 2011 semifinals at two games apiece. The Thunder went on to win in seven games.
Now the Grizzlies will find out if age and experience can help them hold onto home-court advantage after they beat Oklahoma City 87-81 on Saturday.
“We in the same position now, so it’s time for us to conquer that moment and take advantage of these games that’s ahead of us and try to win two games,” Allen said Sunday.
Memphis also wasted home-court advantage not once but twice in 2012. The Grizzlies blew a 27-point lead in losing Game 1 along with a series-clinching Game 7 loss to the Clippers.
“All those losses really stuck I think basically because we had a chance to win them, especially at home,” Grizzlies guard Mike Conley said.
Memphis had plenty of chances to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the 2011 semifinals. The crowd at that Game 4 was so loud at times players couldn’t hear coaches from the bench or even point guards calling plays on the court. Then Kevin Durant scored six of his 35 points in the third overtime as the Thunder handed Memphis its first loss that postseason.
These Grizzlies have won six of their last seven and are undefeated on their home court this postseason after beating Oklahoma City 87-81 on Saturday.
Game 4 is tonight.
“Same situation we was in a few years ago, so we know how to handle it,” Durant said. “We can’t come into practice today and with our heads down moping around because we lost the basketball game. We just got to keep moving forward, keep fighting and we’ll be fine.”
The Grizzlies have plenty to think about after being outworked at their own game by the Thunder on Saturday for the first time in this series. Oklahoma City outrebounded Memphis 51-44 with a 14-5 edge on the offensive boards, and the Thunder also had a 44-30 edge on points in the paint.
“We weren’t taking good shots,” Memphis center Marc Gasol said. “We were not moving the ball. We were not attacking the paint. We were settling too much.”