So the game plan seemed to be this: confine Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, and otherwise let the chips fall. Inasmuch as Z-Bo and Marc came up with fifty-odd points on Sunday, this made a whole lot of sense on paper, but the hard part would be actually delivering. Not a problem: with six and a half minutes left, the Thunder were up by 21, and while the Griz weren’t about to let that go unanswered Memphis went on a 22-7 run to close to within six Randolph and Gasol were held to 28, mostly from the charity stripe. (Between them, they shot 5-22.) So the Thunder even the series at 1-1 with a 111-102 win, with God knows what kind of street fight looming at the FedEx Forum Saturday night.
Mike Conley, noting that he wasn’t getting much attention, responded with a barrage of treys and long twos, finishing 10-15 with 24 points. And O. J. Mayo, apparently becoming used to his new sixth-man role, led the Griz bench with 16. Memphis did some serious rebounding 38, 13 offensive, versus 34/7 and collected 17 points from 16 Thunder turnovers. But they had sixteen of their own, giving up 20 points.
The Thunder somehow shot 52.8 percent, despite taking seven fewer shots than the Griz; even more inexplicable, they hit eight of 14 treys. (Eric Maynor got three of them; the only one he missed was a midcourt last-second shot to end the first half.) Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook showed a little more efficiency tonight, 17 of 38 for their 50 points, but the bench picked up 48 points, about three times what they got on Sunday. James Harden, despite not hitting the long ball, still rolled up 21.
So there will be a Game 5 at the Round Barn. But two games in Memphis come first, and Memphis crowds, now that Memphis has crowds, can be quite intimidating. We shall see.