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Allen's defense key as Grizzlies top Thunder 99-93

Wednesday - 5/8/2013, 2:26pm  ET

Memphis Grizzlies shooting guard Tony Allen (9) grabs his leg after collecting his own rebound late in the second half against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Game 2 of their Western Conference semifinal NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Oklahoma City. The Grizzlies won 99-93. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

JEFF LATZKE
AP Sports Writer

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Tony Allen thought it might have been out of desperation that he ended up guarding Kevin Durant in crunch time.

Whatever it was, it worked out perfectly for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Mike Conley scored 26 points and fueled a late Memphis run while Allen was harassing Durant, and the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-93 on Tuesday night to tie the Western Conference semifinals at one.

Conley hit a 3-pointer from the left wing with 1:58 left to put the Grizzlies ahead, and Allen made it stick with his defense on the three-time scoring champion who had made back-to-back baskets in the final minute to put Oklahoma City on top to stay in Game 1.

This time, Durant missed his final three shots and fell to the floor while committing a turnover against Allen as Memphis reeled off 10 straight points to claim home-court advantage in the series.

Game 3 is Saturday in Memphis.

"He's a prolific scorer. He's the best scorer in the league, but the thing I can do out there is probably just cause havoc out there the best that I can," Allen said.

He certainly did that.

After Conley's go-ahead 3, Allen went flying to try and block a 3-point response by Durant. It forced Durant to hesitate before he fired an off-target shot, and Conley was able to tack on an 18-foot jumper for a 94-90 Memphis lead with 1:04 to play.

A double-team forced Durant to give the ball up on the next possession, but the Thunder got another chance after rebounding Reggie Jackson's missed 3-pointer. Durant then went to back in from the left wing against Allen, who pulled away and allowed Durant to fall down. Allen tipped the ball to Marc Gasol for another stop.

"Once he got it, I knew he was going to try to get some contact. The first thing I didn't want to do was get a foul, so I backed back, he kind of lost his footing and fell and I was able to just run toward the ball and get a deflection," said Allen, a member of Boston's NBA title team in 2009.

"You've just got to be ready for those types of situations."

Maybe as a decoy, coach Lionel Hollins had said after Game 1 that he wouldn't deploy Allen against the taller Durant because the match-up hadn't gone well during the regular season. Another defensive whiz, Tayshaun Prince, got the primary assignment guarding Durant, along with Quincy Pondexter.

But it was Allen who got the key stops.

"I assume we just got desperate. We just tried some new things on him, put fresher bodies on him," Allen said.

Durant still ended up with 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. In six games since fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook was lost for the playoffs because of knee surgery, Durant is averaging 35.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 6.3 assists.

"I can carry as much as coach needs me to carry," Durant said. "I made those shots last game. I missed them this game. I'm just going to continue to keep taking them."

Durant also missed a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left and Oklahoma City down by five, and -- after a pair of Zach Randolph free throws -- Allen stepped in front of Durant to steal a pass and provide the finishing touches with a dunk.

Derek Fisher hit a 3-pointer at the final buzzer for Oklahoma City, ending a string of five straight empty possessions.

"After they scored, there was such little time on the clock, we were just trying to get a quick basket," Durant said, "and it didn't go so well for us."

Conley, who outdueled All-Star Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, also had 10 rebounds and nine assists.

"Mike Conley is now one of the top five point guards in the league, whether anybody likes it or not," Allen said. "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."

The Grizzlies, who had gotten 52 more shots and 24 more offensive rebounds than Oklahoma City in three regular-season meetings, were back to their usual formula after getting neutralized in those areas in the opener.

Memphis piled up a 48-30 scoring advantage in the paint and also outscored Oklahoma City 23-6 in second-chance points and 18-7 on the fast break.

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