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Game 5 thumping means it’s time to ‘cowboy up’

The Thunder dominated and overpowered the Grizzlies 99-72 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Oklahoma City Arena.
 
 Kelley Evans

Defeatism – the acceptance of defeat without struggle.

Amplification will provide detail, but that pretty much sums up the Memphis Grizzlies performance in Game 5 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

The Thunder dominated and overpowered the Grizzlies 99-72 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Oklahoma City Arena.

After the triple overtime epic in Memphis on Monday night, the Grizzlies appeared exhausted while the Thunder seemed refreshed. The Grizz came out on fire in the first six minutes. But it was downhill thereafter.

Game 6 Friday at the FedExForum now shapes up as a battle to stay alive and force a Game 7-return to OKC.

“We didn’t play very well,” said Head Grizz Coach Lionel Hollins. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well. We missed tons of layups. I still believe in my team and I believe we will come back.”

Poor ball execution, missed shots, lack of inside-game shots and failure to communicate added up to the thumping the Grizz took in Game 5. The Thunder defense was the predator.

Oklahoma City kept team eyes on Zach Randolph, limiting his touches and time to score in the paint. Near the end of the first quarter, OKC they went on a 7-0 run, which put the Thunder up by seven.

It was a night during which the Grizzlies bench got outscored, and one that saw the team as a whole miss simple shots, shooting less than 40 percent. OKC drove to the hoop in waves, with very few stops from the Grizzlies.

In the final five minutes, both teams’ starters were seated, with the bench reserves playing out the string.

“To win on the road in the playoffs takes a certain edge,” Grizz forward Shane Battier tweeted. “Obviously didn’t have it tonight. The final score was immaterial. Time to cowboy up.”

Charge!

Only one Grizz player scored in double figures and that was Center Marc Gasol, who led the team with 15 points.

“I don’t think fatigue was the issue, it was more of our effort,” Gasol said. “Right now they are up one game and we’ve got to win Friday. We’re going to give it everything we have.”

Randolph was stifled, netting only nine points, a total matched by Mike Conley and Darrell Arthur.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 19 points, followed by Daequan Cook with 18 points and Russell Westbrook with 11.

“I thought our team came in with focus, said Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

“You beat good teams by really executing very well and with good effort. We did both of them tonight.”

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