NBA playoffs: Grizzlies 99, Thunder 93: Conley carries Memphis

2013-05-08T00:00:00Z NBA playoffs: Grizzlies 99, Thunder 93: Conley carries MemphisThe Associated Press The Associated Press
May 08, 2013 12:00 am  • 

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Memphis Grizzlies wouldn't let Kevin Durant come through in the clutch for the second straight time.

This was Mike Conley's time to shine.

Conley scored 26 points and fueled a late Memphis run as the Grizzlies beat Oklahoma City 99-93 on Tuesday night to gain a home-court edge in the Western Conference semifinals.

Conley hit a three-pointer from the left wing with 1:58 left to put the Grizzlies ahead to stay and spark a string of 10 straight Memphis points.

The Grizzlies head home to play three of the next four games, with Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis.

"Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league, whether anybody likes it or not," said Tony Allen, who had two of his five steals in the final minute. "I know a lot of people have got their favorites on who they think it should be, but Mike Conley is in that conversation now, being able to do these types of things on the court night in and night out."

In the first round, Conley outdueled All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers. And now, he filled the late-game void the Grizzlies created when they traded away leading scorer Rudy Gay midway in the season.

After Conley's go-ahead three, he added an 18-foot jumper to stretch the lead to 94-90, then hit one of two free throws with 29.4 seconds left. He finished with 10 rebounds and nine assists, one shy of a triple-double.

"We needed to have somebody on the perimeter do something," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "He started getting to the basket a little bit and scored some big jump shots late."

After hitting the key baskets in Game 1, Durant couldn't provide an answer for the Thunder. He missed his last three shots, including a pair of treys, and finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

The Thunder caught a break when Allen tipped the ball away and Conley saved it from going out of bounds, only for it to end up in Durant's hands in the corner. But Durant was off-target on a three, and Oklahoma City was forced to foul.

Zach Randolph added two free throws, and Allen then stole the ball from Durant and provided the finishing touches with a dunk.

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