OKLAHOMA CITY —
Game 1 Notes:
Grizzly matchup: Memphis enters the Western Conference Semifinals with a reputation as being the best defensive team in the playoffs. Only the Spurs in the Western Conference allowed fewer points in the first round than the Grizzlies. Oklahoma City is no slouch either. The Thunder are fifth in the playoffs in field goal percentage allowed at .424. Memphis is allowing teams to shoot .467. In Game 1 Oklahoma City held Memphis to 42.7 percent and outrebounded them 43-41. “That’s what we pride ourselves in is defensive toughness,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “I thought tonight, with both teams, when both teams are being serious like this, you have to earn every inch of the court.”
Free points: Free-throw shooting will continue to be an important factor for Memphis, which leads the league in attempts at 34.3 per game. Coach Lionel Hollins said his team will not do anything different to keep getting there. “The last few years we’ve always gotten to the foul line. That’s just the way we play,” Hollins said. “When you go inside, if you attack the basket, you get offensive rebounds, you are going to get foul shots. If you just take jump shots ... the fewer free throws you are going to get.” However, it was Oklahoma City who made a living at the line Sunday. It was 22-for-25 compared to the Grizzlies 14-of-25.
MVP voting: For the second straight year Durant was runner-up in the MVP balloting, which was announced Sunday. He finished behind LeBron James, who received 120 of 121 total first-place votes to win the award for the fourth time. Durant received 93 second-place votes, 21 third-place votes, two fourth-place votes and three fifth-place votes. Carmelo Anthony, who finished third, got one first place vote to keep James from the unanimous choice.
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