MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lionel Hollins demands a certain standard from his Grizzlies that he didn’t get in the first half against Oklahoma City.
Well, they came through after halftime, and now the Grizzlies are just a win away from this franchise’s first Western Conference final.
Mike Conley scored 24 points, while Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol each had a double-double as the Grizzlies rallied from a 17-point deficit in beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 in overtime Monday night.
“They were able to overcome everything, and we just kept battling until we got a win,” Hollins said. “I’m glad it didn’t go into three overtimes, but I’m glad to get the win.”
These teams played three overtimes in Game 4 in 2011 in the Western semifinals, a game in which the Thunder rallied from a first-half deficit and won. Oklahoma City eventually won that series in seven games.
This time around, the Thunder had the 17-point advantage with the Grizzlies rallying back to grab a 3-1 series lead. The comeback came after Hollins spoke to them at halftime and even shut off the film early.
“We knew he was upset, and the guys responded to that,” Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said.
Allen’s driving layup opened overtime and put the Grizzlies ahead to stay. The win pushed the defending Western Conference champions to the edge of elimination. Game 5 is Wednesday night in Oklahoma City.
“It’s not over yet, and we understand that,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “It’s the first to four. They’re in a good position, but our challenge is not impossible. It’s something that we can do. We just have to focus one possession, one game at a time. Hopefully, we can do that and come back here Friday night. There’s a barbeque festival right?”
Memphis has yet to lose on its home court this postseason and now is 19-1 here since Feb. 8. The Grizzlies won their third straight overall and seventh in eight games to grab a 3-1 lead in this best-of-seven series with a win that left Hollins very impressed with the comeback.
“We are a team that just plays hard and doesn’t quit,” Hollins said. “We scratch. We claw. They said grit and grind. I don’t know what the heck that means, but we go out and we just battle. We compete. We’re not the most talented team that’s in the playoffs when we started out. We’re not the most talented team that’s left in the playoffs. But we go and compete.”
The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 9-3 in overtime as Oklahoma City went 1 of 8 from the floor.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points. But the man leading the league this postseason in scoring missed all five of his shots in the extra period, including a layup in the final seconds. Durant went 2 of 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime and had only five points. He did score on a driving layup that forced overtime.
HEAT 88, BULLS 65
CHICAGO — LeBron James scored 27 points and the Miami Heat nearly matched a franchise record for points allowed in a playoff game, pounding the listless and short-handed Chicago Bulls 88-65 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The 65 points allowed were only two more than the all-time postseason low for a Miami opponent, and it was easily the worst offensive performance by a Chicago team.
Never before had the Bulls scored fewer than 69 in a playoff game nor 10 or less in a quarter during the postseason, but both those marks fell on a night when they were dominated on both ends.
Miami led by 11 at the half and put this one away in the third quarter, outscoring Chicago 17-9 in the period. Now the Heat will try to wrap up the series at home on Wednesday night, taking what they hope will be the next step toward a second straight championship.