‘Fluke Play’ In Third Quarter Nearly Costly For Allen, Grizzlies


OKLAHOMA CITY — One moment, Tony Allen‘s on the bench, ambitiously waving his towel above his head like he’s back at Oklahoma State in the Final Four or something. The next moment, he’s slinking into his chair as Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins glared at him and barked something at him as though Allen had just asked out the coach’s daughter.

“[I said the] same thing I said to him when he didn’t block out [Kevin] Durant on a shot,” Hollins said. “What the hell are you doing?!”

What in the world happened as the third quarter of Wednesday’s Game 5 wound down to five minutes to play, with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Derek Fisher shooting a corner 3-pointer in front of the Grizz bench and, out of nowhere, Allen’s blue warmup jersey fluttering five feet into the air and landing five feet out on the court?

“That never happened in my career. It was just a fluke incident,” Allen said, shaking his head. “It (the jersey) was tied up in the towel, and I knew it, but it just slipped. I saw it on the floor. I think I’m the only one that saw it because everybody else had their eyes …”

Allen, who had just subbed out of the game seconds earlier, stopped to sort through the surreal sequence.

“I don’t know, it was just a fluke play man,” Allen said. “I just thank God we were able to get out of here with a win.”

Had they not, and they almost did not, there’s no telling what Hollins might have done to his defensive bulldog who had defended Durant so well in helping lead the Grizzlies to a five-game, semifinal playoff victory over the top-seeded Thunder.

Memphis led 60-49 and was in seizing control of the game when Allen’s towel went haywire and spit out his warmup. Fisher’s 3-pointer missed, but the whistle blew the play dead with the foreign object resting on the floor. The ruling: OKC was awarded three points and a technical foul was assessed to Allen for interference. Durant made the free throw for a four-point play without an actual field goal being made.

Now it’s 60-53 and what was a subdued sellout crowd at Chesapeake Arena roared as the Thunder found sudden life.





End of the third quarter.

“Man, I thought when they made that run,” Allen said, “I was saying this is all my fault.”

He probably doesn’t want to know what Hollins was really thinking. When Hollins told reporters what he screamed at Allen, the room chuckled, seeing as all had ended well for the Grizz. But Hollins still didn’t smile and he offered a curt retort.

“That was huge. They counted the three points and then they got a free throw,” Hollins said. “That was a four-point play and from that point on we scored four more points in the quarter.”

Said Allen: “He was pretty upset and I can understand why. I shouldn’t do that as a veteran. It was just a bad play considering what was at stake. That could have come back and haunted us, but for the most part we’re a group that’s together and thank God that he didn’t scold me. But he did tell me to get my head out of my butt and get out there and keep playing.”

Memphis again gained control, going ahead 80-68 with 4:13 to go and the franchise’s first trip to the West finals nearing reality. Then the Thunder charged again.




“I just felt like if I get a chance to go back into this game I want to do something to help the team,” Allen said. “I don’t care what it is.”

And so with 3.3 seconds left in Game 5 and the Grizzlies up two, Allen, a career 74.1-percent career free throw shooter, went to the line for two. Either he ices it or he does the Thunder a second big favor and leaves them one last chance.

Bang and bang.

“Luckily, well not luckily,” Allen said, “thank God we were able to get out of here with a win.”


  1. KD should just learn the loss as a lifetime lesson.. just like Michael Jordan did when he was just getting pushed around like a kid by the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons.. KD should physically build his body now to get stronger (like MJ did then).. because during the playoffs, sometimes the refs just won’t call usual reg. season fouls.. no excuses..

  2. KD should just learn the loss as a lifetime lesson.. just like Michael Jordan did when he was just getting pushed around like a kid by the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons.. KD should physically build his body now to get stronger.. because during the playoffs, sometimes the refs just won’t call usual reg. season fouls.. no excuses..

  3. Dan says:

    Everbody does the hold at some point, who do you think your kidding. You just refuse to see if its the opponent is doing it.

  4. Alphacuz says:

    Im an OKC fan and you could see it wasnt out of malice or anything. Well done to the Grizz for advancing on. It hurts to see my team bow out, but you guys did a good job and deserve the accolades. Miami will be hoping you dont advance as Allen will be all over Chalmers and Z-bo will push Bosh around in the low post with Gasol. Grizz have the D and grit to go all they way, Miami will try and force Z-Bo and Allen into foul trouble early to try and get the win if the Grizz get to the finals.

  5. Grizzlies Fan says:

    I’m surprised Fisher didn’t flop 5 feet backwards when the towel landed near him, haha!!!

  6. Okckd35 says:

    Yes the warm up was accidental. But tony Allen standing at the out of bounds line waving his towel to distract fisher should have been called wether or not something went into the floor. Was a dirty play by a dirty player. I’ve never seen someone blatantly run through screens and hold his defender at the same time and never get called for it. See him push fisher about 8 feet off his screen while holding Durants arm. Once again the only accident is he dropped something. The dirty play was purely intentional

    • Queirós says:

      Get over it! Are you serious? Why should he be penalized? If you go with that line of reasoning, then every game should be played on empty arenas, as not to distract players, right?

  7. Bersem says:

    If the Spurs reach the conference finals, it will be really hard to beat the tandem Randolph – Gasol in the paint… will be nice to watch but I really would love to see the Spurs against the Heat in the finals !

  8. MJfromOKC says:

    I agree it was weird, I thought it was even weirder when we suddenly got back in the game.

    • Kei says:

      Did you feel weird when Durant choke his night out? WIDE OPEN on last shot!

      • Arky says:

        He got caught in two minds.

        He falls in love with his jumper- LeBron used to do that too- and pulled up to take it because he was suddenly open even though he also had a lane to the rim. And even as he rose up, he knew he could have got closer. Guy in two minds on a shot = brick.

  9. theholyspecatator says:

    okc flopped hard

  10. standard says:

    it was nothing but an excuse to write an article on it.
    the lead was again on those ten points in the 4th quater!!

    Get over it Media!!

  11. Andrejs says:

    Tony Allen let his emotions override his reason when he was whipping around his warm-up. It was only an accident; Hollins and everyone else just need to calm down. If they lost, then there would be room for criticism but, they are now in the West Finals and that’s that. If they Griz didn’t have Allen, there would be no one to stop KD. Allen is one of the best perimeter defenders in the league and deserves to be forgotten about for being the one accidentally throwing his towel on the court.

    • Okckd35 says:

      I used to like tony Allen in Boston, but it looked like the game plan against OKC was “hold em til they call it” and the refs never called it. The announcers and sportscenter showed several holds that led to points or turnovers. Hopefully one day they will call it EVERY time down so they quit doing it.

  12. S. Benjamin says:

    What a weird chain of events, but great for Memphis. The game wasn’t shown here, so I’m glad to read about it and see the response of Allen