Grizzlies advance to first conference final, eliminate Thunder - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Grizzlies advance to first conference final, eliminate Thunder

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Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and Jerryd Bayless react as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher looks on in the final moments of Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals in Oklahoma City, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph and Jerryd Bayless react as Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Derek Fisher looks on in the final moments of Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals in Oklahoma City, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph shoots as Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka defend during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph shoots as Thunder center Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka defend during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins, Memphis' Quincy Pondexter and Marc Gasol and Thunder's Kevin Durant go after a loose ball during the first half of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal in the NBA basketball playoffs, May 15 (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins, Memphis' Quincy Pondexter and Marc Gasol and Thunder's Kevin Durant go after a loose ball during the first half of Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal in the NBA basketball playoffs, May 15 (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Thunder forward Kevin Durant drives to the basket as Grizzlies Jerryd Bayless defends during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams) Thunder forward Kevin Durant drives to the basket as Grizzlies Jerryd Bayless defends during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince shoots over Thunder guard Reggie Jackson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki) Grizzlies forward Tayshaun Prince shoots over Thunder guard Reggie Jackson during the first half of Game 5 of an NBA basketball playoffs Western Conference semifinal, in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
OKLAHOMA CITY (FOX13) -

For the first time in team history the Memphis Grizzlies have advanced to the Western Conference Finals.

All-Star Zach Randolph scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds as the fifth-seeded Grizzlies knocked off top-seeded Oklahoma City, 88-84, Wednesday night in Game 5 of the conference semifinals.

MORE: Grizzlies go from uncertain future to West finals: http://www.myfoxmemphis.com/story/22266657/grizzlies-go-from-uncertain-future-to-west-finals

For the second straight series, Memphis won four in a row to eliminate the Thunder in five games. The Grizzlies won four in a row to knock off the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs.

Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists for the Grizzlies, who now await the winner of the Golden State-San Antonio series. The Spurs have a 3-2 series lead against the Warriors.

Western Conference Finals home games 1 and 2 tickets go on sale Saturday, May 18, at noon, the basketball club said early Thursday morning.

Kevin Durant missed a 16-foot jumper from the left wing to tie the game with 6 seconds left, finishing off a miserable shooting night for the three-time NBA scoring champion.
 
Durant ended up with 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting, the third-worst performance of his playoff career. The Thunder, which made it to the NBA Finals last season, were eliminated in five games. The top seed in the West went 2-6 after All-Star Russell Westbrook guard went out with a knee injury that required surgery.

Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 to play during a desperation comeback try for the Thunder.

Oklahoma City trailed by 12 with three minutes left before going on a 16-6 rally, with Reggie Jackson's 3-pointer cutting the deficit to 86-84 with 14.3 seconds remaining.

Randolph missed both free throws with 11.3 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder one last chance to save their season. Durant got the ball beyond the 3-point line on the left wing and navigated around Tony Allen before missing the jumper.

Allen then made two free throws to close it out.

After letting a 14-point lead get trimmed to two, the Grizzlies regained control with a 12-2 run to start the fourth quarter. It featured seven points from Randolph - five from the foul line - to go up 76-64 with 6:03 remaining.

It was just a big enough cushion to finish off a series of games that all came down to the wire. The first three games featured a go-ahead basket in the final two minutes, and Game 4 went to overtime. Memphis won the final four games.

The Thunder fell to 1-4 in elimination games over the past four seasons. Two of Durant's worst performances came in those games, with a 5-for-23 outing against the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2010 first-round. His worst shooting performance in the postseason was against the Grizzlies in Game 6 of the 2011 West semifinals.

Oklahoma City got a breath of life with a bizarre play midway through the third quarter. Derek Fisher's missed 3-pointer turned into a four-point possession. Allen, who was on the bench, waved his arms to try and distract Fisher on his shot and a shirt slipped out of his hands and onto the floor near Fisher's feet.

Referee Marc Davis ruled that Fisher's 3-pointer should count, and Durant hit the free throw resulting from a technical against Allen to get the Thunder within 60-53. Oklahoma City got as close as 64-62 by the end of the quarter, after Fisher's 3-pointer and a layup by Thabo Sefolosha.

But the Thunder missed eight of their first nine shots to start the fourth quarter to fall behind by 12, then couldn't quite recover.

Memphis clamped down late in the first half, keeping Oklahoma City from making a field goal for the final six minutes while using a 14-3 push to establish a 50-38 lead at the break. The Thunder missed their final 11 shots of the half, with Durant getting a jumper sent back into his face by Gasol during the stretch.

The lead stretched to 60-46 after Tayshaun Prince's driving left-handed slam over Reggie Jackson with 7:10 left in the third quarter, before Oklahoma City's comeback began.

Oklahoma City opened the game on a 7-0 run, with Durant diving out of bounds to save a ball in the opening minutes. But it couldn't sustain the momentum and allowed Memphis to pull even before the midway point of the first quarter.

The Grizzlies claimed the lead after Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless hit 3-pointers to start the second quarter, and they wouldn't trail again.

Notes: NBA Commissioner David Stern attended the game and sat eight rows from the court. ... Sefolosha wore a brace on his sore left hand. He played just six minutes in the first half, then played the entire third quarter. ... It was the second straight game the Thunder scored the first seven points, only to give up the lead a few minutes later. ... Nick Collison picked up three fouls in the first 2:35 of the second quarter and got pulled. ... After the third-quarter buzzer, Bayless made a shot from three-quarters court that did not count.

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Associated Press writer Jeff Latzke in Oklahoma City contributed to this report.

 

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