With the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers in a 3-0 hole, maybe it’s time to start considering the next heir apparent to the Western Conference’s throne. Why not the Memphis Grizzlies? With each passing playoff game the Grizzlies continue to surprise. For their latest trick, Memphis overcame a 16-point deficit to upend the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 101-93 victory in Game Three of their best-of-seven series on May 7.

In front of a raucous crowd at Memphis’ FedEx Forum, the Grizzlies used a 23-10 fourth quarter to even the game before regulation. Memphis scored the first six points of overtime to wrestle control away and stun the Thunder by taking a 2-1 series lead. Grizzlies’ forward Zach Randolph led the team with 21 points and 21 rebounds. Reserve guard O.J. Mayo added 18 points off the bench.

Behind Russell Westbrook’s 23 points and 12 assists, Oklahoma led 82-71 with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter before a pair of Grizzlies’ three pointers helped trim the lead to three points. With the game tied in the waning seconds, Randolph missed a three pointer at the end of regulation, which sent the game into an extra period knotted at 86-86.

After shocking the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs 4-2 in the opening round, the eighth-seeded Grizzlies are aiming to become the first last place playoff team to reach the Western Conference Finals. Game Four is Monday, May 9 at FedEx Forum.

 

Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO