The Norman Transcript

Local Sports

April 21, 2014

Thunder not interested in excuses, just taking care of business



“They came to prove last year was fluke,” Memphis coach David Joerger said. “They came at us with a lot of force, except for the third quarter. We will make some adjustments, spacing wise. A little Xs and Os. But there wasn’t a lot of Xs and Os last night. It was straight up come at you. The difference in the game was easy baskets.”

The Grizz shot 36.3 percent from the field and 18 percent from behind the arc. They also missed 13 free throws.

But the biggest problem Memphis had was the inside presence of the Thunder big men. Especially Serge Ibaka, who finished with four blocked shots and even more alterations. Memphis center Marc Gasol knows he has to do a better job of limiting Ibaka’s effectiveness.

“You have to know he’s coming,” Gasol said. “You have to know Serge is coming from the weakside. I try to root him under the basket so he can’t just come over and block shots. He’s a unique player. He has unique talent. He has a great timing for those kind of blocked shots. We still have to play the game.”

The Grizzlies said they came to Oklahoma City looking to take two games. Now they are trying to at least earn a split before heading back to Memphis. It’s a situation they feel they are best suited to handle.

“We are a team that thrives off adversity to motivate ourselves,” Memphis guard Mike Conley said. “We’re going to go out there and play our basketball. We’re going to go out there and try and get into the paint, make plays early, not settle so much from the outside. And get better opportunities.”

Memphis will have Tayshaun Prince back in the lineup after he left Game 1 early due to illness. This allows them to set up their defensive rotations.

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