Allen making life rough again for KD

By Jeff Caplan,

VIDEO: The Grizzlies grind out a win at OKC

OKLAHOMA CITY — Remember that commercial from last season where Kevin Durant and Dwyane Wade haunt each other’s dreams? They got it wrong. Tony Allen, gritty, grimy and forever grinding, is Durant’s worst nightmare.

And now, after Allen made life miserable for Durant in Memphis’ impressive 111-105 overtime victory on the second-seeded Thunder’s home floor Monday night to tie the series 1-1, Allen and his seventh-seeded Grizzlies welcome the soon-to-be-named MVP back to The Grindhouse  — where they’ve put away 14 consecutive opponents.

“First thing first, Kevin Durant, he’s the scoring leader, All-Star, probably one of the greatest in the game right now,” Allen said. “But it’s a competition at the end of the day. Basically, it ain’t about me, it’s about the Grizzlies coming in here, basically playing grit-n-grind basketball, holding our hats on the defensive end.”

But it is about you, Mr. Allen. You suffocated Durant into submission in the fourth quarters of last year’s semifinals series without Russell Westbrook and you’re pushing KD’s buttons again with Westbrook by his side.

It seems crazy to say it with Durant scoring 33 and 36 points in the first two games of this wild first-round series between these familiar foes, but those 69 points have come on 53 shots and with Allen draped all over practically every one of them. Nothing phases him, not when Durant drops a miracle 3-point shot that becomes a four-point play after Allen tipped the initial pass or when Durant started to heat up in the fourth quarter after having just 16 points on 6-for-18 shooting after three quarters.

“I [have] got to do my work early,” Allen said. “If that’s being physical with him then trying to push him through screens, just cause havoc the best way possible. The guy still had 36 points. He’s going to get his. The biggest thing is not to get discouraged, just keep fighting throughout the game.”

Allen gives up eight inches to Durant. It doesn’t matter. He burrows under him and invades his space. He swats shots from behind, curling over screens and closing fast to get an outstretched hand high enough to disrupt his shot. The Thunder have to find some answers, have to figure what makes this Allen fellow tick and take him out of his game.

“I wish I knew what made Tony Allen tick,” said teammate Mike Conley, who’s been masterful with 23 assists and three turnovers in the two games. “He’s hard to explain. He’s a guy that comes in every day with a chip on his shoulder. You don’t know why, you don’t know what’s got him mad, what’s got him angry, but you roll with it. I think playing against top-level competition, KD, Russell, those guys, he really gets up for that opportunity and that challenge, and I’m happy to have him on my team.”

Memphis controlled Game 2 virtually from the start, leading for all but just a couple of minutes of the 53 that were needed. Allen and company did a number on the defensive end, holding OKC to 39.8 percent shooting, Memphis shot 49.4 percent with Conley and Beno Udrih — yes, Beno Freaking Udrih — carving up the Thunder for 19 and 14 points, respectively.

Durant didn’t get much help. Westbrook was 11-for-28. Reggie Jackson didn’t make a shot and the rest of the bench was impotent as well.

Allen and the Grizzlies’ punishing defense pushed Durant out of his comfort zone and into taking 12 3-point attempts — two more than the entire Memphis team — including the miracle corner 3 in the final 15 seconds of regulation that helped the Thunder simply get to overtime.

Allen left Thunder coach Scott Brooks lamenting how the Grizzlies put their hands all over Durant and Westbrook to slow them down. He left Durant in a somber mood in the postgame interview room. He spoke softly and often reluctantly, projecting a tone that he wasn’t much interested in discussing what just went down.

“We shot the shots that were open,” Durant said. “I think we settled for a few, but we put ourselves in position to win a basketball game and they made more plays than we did. So that’s the name of the game, so we’re not panicking at all.”

MVPs don’t panic. They produce. And now’s the time for Durant to carry over his historic regular season into the postseason. Since OKC opened the first half of Game 1 as if guzzling rocket fuel, it’s been nothing but mud-buggying ever since.

“Basically it’s just going to be a slugfest,” Allen said. “We’re going to pound it. They’re going to run it. Whoever can come up with the most stops pretty much wins the game.”

Durant and the Thunder have two days to figure out how to find some breathing space on the road, where Allen will be waiting.


  1. Hemorrhage says:

    scott brooks needs to play Adams to defend either zbo or marc gasol..

  2. Najeero says:

    He’s doing what even LeBron couldn’t do. If Allen never wins DPOY, ima be mad.

  3. iamironman says:

    KD will know how LBJ felt when he won the MVP and not the championship.

  4. jake s. says:

    Memphis played their best game of the season. Udrih will not have another night like that, neither will Tony Allen. Thunder in 6.

  5. netsforlyfe says:

    for all the people who say that Durant is shooting terrible, he’s been shooting 47 percent over the course of the series. That is not nearly as bad as what you are portraying it to be; its not half bad at all. Man, the grizzlies are a tough team, but most of you guys are idiots just jumping on the okc is terrible bandwagon. Its one game that did go into overtime.

  6. OKC says:

    Wow Memphis fans like to talk a lot of trash… So Memphis made an adjustment and OKC had a bad game, that’s what happens in the playoffs. Lets continue this conversation after the next game.

  7. pfft says:

    Durant needs Westbrook. Russ is also a scoring threat. KD needs the other guys to make the shot.

  8. okc2014 says:

    There is NOTHING wrong with OKC’s 2nd unit. OKC’s 2nd unit is better than the starters for the Knickerbonkers and the Fakers put together. Now. How do you like them apples??

  9. okc2014 says:

    To hate fanboys bandwagon: I’m here. I’m not scared and neither is Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook or Serge Ibaka. That game went to overtime, could have gone either way. OKC is the best team in the NBA and Kevin Durant is getting ready as we speak to step up to a podium and take MVP from King Lebron James. I’m OKC’s best fan. And always will be. The only problem is, that Kevin Durant needs to get really mad and go on his “I Hate You Tour” not starring Russell Westbrook. If Kevin Durant wants, he can carry the whole team through this whole playoffs. But he’s a team player and wants a team effort. So, “Don’t hate the player hate the game”. OKC2014!!!”

    • LOL says:

      Um no actually that dont apply to the NBA sorry. Noones gona hate the game before the hate the player LOL

  10. jlsanchezpr says:

    Russell Westbrook is not a problem at all he shot more effectively than KD yesterday.And I think with Allen guarding KD he’s gonna to be more aggressive attacking the rim if they wanna win.That being said props to the Grizzlies for a tough win if the keep playing hard every game we could see an Upset.

  11. okcfanBUT says:

    Hats off to The Grizzlies!!!! They outplayed our team totally! The Thunder is much too weak when it comes to defense. Watching KD rule the paint instead of his opponent at the time is very frustrating. They need to study Memphis on their defensive moves and learn from it. I want us to win this series but they need to be hungry enough for it. They come in looking so downcast and tired from the start. The fans shouldn’t be the ONLY ones excited and aggressive!!!! Wake up Thunder!!!!!

  12. Frankdeez says:

    65 points on 56 shots is not good. The only other player that produced was Ibaka and did he ever . That dude is a beast and Thunder fans are too caught up in Durant and Westbrook to appreciate him. What did the rest of the team do though? I’ll tell you NOTHING.

    • Beenthere says:

      Serge Ibaka is highly regarded and absolutely a fan favorite amongst every Oklahom City Thunder fan. To say he is not appreciated is a poor estimation and is highly inaccurate.

  13. Frankdeez says:

    It’s funny reading these Thunder fans bitching about not getting calls. Say all you want about how great Durant and Westbrook are but basketball is a team sport and that’s what the Grizzlies are is a team. The refs didn’t bail them out with weak foul calls and they lost .It’s that simple. Gasol and Randolph are getting mugged every time they touch the ball. Conley can’t buy a call call either. So keep making up excuses and praising 2 guys. Ibaka was the best player for the Thunder last night and getting no love from Thunder fans. Not flashy enough I guess. Here’s the TRUTH. Last 7 Playoff games GRIZZLIES 5 THUNDER 2. So pipe in some more artificial noise. Your gonna need it! GO GRIZ!!!

    • GoGrizz says:

      Exactly!! The Grizz can’t buy a foul call and they’re all millionaires. Ibaka was absolutely their best player, hands down…

  14. GoGrizz says:

    Most of you guys are just speaking from an emotional aspect and not stating the facts of the games. The Grizz forced KD to shoot from long range all game. Yes, he scored 36 points, but he also shot around 36 shots as well. Complain about Tony Allen smothering KD all you want, however you guys haven’t said one word about how OKC beat Zach Randolph the entire Game 1 and some of Game 2 without receiving a foul call. Zach and Marc take more punishment without the whistle being blown than any other players in the league. Despite having the refs on OKC’s side, the Grizz still prevailed. Memphis has a 14 game home winning streak so it’ll be a 3-1 series heading back to OKC. NOW, THOSE ARE FACTS… NOT EMOTION. Great day….

  15. MisterT says:

    Haha! The author, Jeff Kaplan, is ignorant. Durant scored 36 points. Yep, Tony Allen made it real rough for him. He was hacking and holding Durant all night and still he still couldn’t stop him. These writers think they can just publish any garbage they want.

    • Madair says:

      Mister T,
      Did you even watch the game?
      Durant got 36 points from shooting 12 of 28 in 45 minutes played.
      Last time I checked, that’s well below his MVP level production.
      Never mind the numbers, did you watch how Allen made Durant exert and fight just to catch the basketball, and then throw up tough shots after tough shots the entire game?
      Like he said, Durant is going to get his numbers, but there’s a difference in taking 15 shots and getting 30 points and win by 10 versus getting 40 points on 30 shots and lose.
      Learn the game buddy, before making an IGNORANT comment.

  16. exocast33 says:

    I’m a Spurs fan but I gotta give Mike Conley some props. That dude was amazing last night — although he missed a couple of FTs down the stretch — he tore OKC up. Super impressed by how he keeps his dribble alive against an OKC team that usually makes that tough.

  17. Not To Sure... says:

    The Oklahoma City Thunder are a strong, strong team, with the ability to turn a game around in a second! that being said, everyone on here who was saying Tony Allen and Memphis got lucky… No Chance! Tony Allen makes life unbearable for the person he defends…. just look at Durants 36% field goal margin… yes he scored the same amount of points as his percentage but on 9-25 shots! If OKC wants a solid series win (4-1) they need to play alot better then that, Westbrook and Durant are only two men…how can they take on Five other players? realistically….this is going to be one of the better series! the only series im more excited for is HOU and POR!!!

    Moral of the story…Give Credit were Credit is due…Memphis and especially Tony Allen deserve alot of credit!

  18. John D. Wait4me says:

    Never seen anyone play better D on KD in the 4.Q than Tony “The Worm (2)” Allen. OKC has to understand that you’re not gonna win with 2 guys taking 55 shots against any good defensive team. Either RW gets some other scorers involved throughout the match or they will go down shooting wild long-range jumpers.
    But they will adjust and probably come back stronger. This series is going down to the wire.

  19. celentano says:

    KD & Westbrook are no championship materials,overated! They are at best during the regular season,they are good players yes i agreed but overated! They gonna fall again this year, Westbrook is no real pointguard but a scoring guard.Kd needs a real pointguard, not Westbrook.
    You see the difference between Jordan,Kobe&others…<<<<<<<<<<<<<KD at his prime it's big gap between them,KD is Lucky to be tall with some scorings talent that's all in a era where handchecking is restricted!
    Watch out with the Grizzly's they are a dangerous team could be an early exit this year.

  20. Isturn Yurup says:

    I love Brian Anderson for yelling: Good Morning Czechoslavakia! with 5:45 left…
    Czechoslovakia went to bed in late 1992 and never woke up since! Cos they seperated and became Czech Rep. and Slovakia. (By the way Beno Udrih played great and he’s from Slovenia not Slovakia.)

  21. hate fanboys bandwagon says:

    where’s okc2014? Everytime he got some smarta** comments whenever OKC wins. Where are you?

  22. OKC says:

    People talking bad on Westbrook obviously didn’t watch the game and think watching a highlight makes them experts. If you actually watched the game you would see Russell did everything for us during the first half while KD was cold and until the end of the game was having a better game than KD. We need Russell to go out and get 40 while KD is being covered/fouled by Tony Allen (some of those no calls were infuriating, watching KD go up for a 3 with Allen all over him and never getting the call).

    • OKC says:

      Tony Allen is def one of the best defenders in the league, but we will see how it goes the rest of the series. The refs don’t call every game the same and I predict the Thunder trying to get Allen in foul trouble as much as they can. Also saying TA has KDs number on a night when KD had 36 is reaching. Memphis had to work their butts off to take one game from us which we almost took back so keep dreaming Memphis.

      Hats off to Tony Allen though, he is the master of playing super physical defense and riding the line of foul/pressure. That and he has been killing us in transition. As an OSU cowboy alum I gotta love TA.

  23. Jarred Studinski says:

    Anyone who says that Westbrook is the problem is ignorant and stupid. Straight up. Do you remember the playoffs last year? The Thunder were not the same team without Westbrook. Just because he doesn’t play the exact perfect way to compliment Durant and the rest of his teammates, doesn’t mean he’s the problem. The Grizzlies just came to play in game 2, it’s as simple as that. They outgrinded and outworked the Thunder. That’s all there is to it. Yes, Westbrook could have made some different decisions that would have benefited the team. But even Jordan had turnovers, Jordan made poor decisions in his career, so just get off Westbrooks case and enjoy the series.

  24. From an says:

    I wonder how effective he would be if the refs actually called all the times he holds KD. And this is coming from an unbiased Piston fan. He constantly has a hold of Durant on every possession.

  25. Big Al says:

    Westbrook should finally accept the Pippen role in this team, or he can go elsewhere to be the #1 player. His absence for some part of this season didn’t seem to affect the team as much as people thought it would. He’s no Derrick Rose, so he’s better off doing a Chris Paul for OKC. Russell will look better that way than starting scoring contests against KD (which he would usually lose anyway). Worse, the team sometimes loses that way. He should stop being the hero in tight games. Rather than pulling the trigger all the time, he should help set up plays that will increase the chances of making a basket. As one blogger once said, there is a reason why a player’s surname is at the back of his jersey and the team name in front.

  26. Step-Step says:

    Everyone says Memphis doesn’t have a chance against OKC. You can believe that or not.The Memphis has proven all critics wrong time after time after time. If you don’t think they have a chance, look at when they have done the last (3)years in the playoffs. Even if MPHS doesn’t win the series, I bet they will make OKC work for every win they get in this series. Game (1) was just a bad game, everyone have those, look at Golden State Last night against the L.A. Clippers.

    • exocast33 says:

      Great game last night, but Holy Cow, refs wanted to keep OKC in the game soo bad. I’ve never seen a team get so many calls — Durant is amazing, but to get continuation on that Gasol foul, then to not be called for charge late in game — Good luck, I have a lot of respect for Memphis.

  27. Game Time says:

    KD still had, what, 39pts I believe? The problem with this game was Westbrook. At one point in the game I saw him shoot a 3 and miss horrible, then a offensive rebound was thrown to him. Rather than work for a play he goes and jacks up another bad 3, and badly misses that as well.

    • haha says:

      it says in the article, but you didn’t read it you juat wanted to dump your opinion on everyone

  28. DesiOnTheLoose says:

    The Grizzlies have 3 Premier defenders who can suffocate KD and Westbrook, Lee, Prince, and Allen. Although Allen did the most damage, it was the other 2 guys Allen was referencing as a team effort.Prince started the suffocating and Allen finished it. BTW Joakim Noah wouldn’t win the DPOY if Allen was healthy all year. Nuff Said.

  29. birdie says:

    Man, that Brooks has some nerve, whining that his little little spoiled darlings didn’t get all the calls tgey’ve come to feel entitled to. Good for the refs, ketting them actually play without catering to whiny Westbrook and Durant. Doubt it will ever happen again, unfortunately.

    • meow says:

      yeah for real, they normally get everything handed to them

    • exocast33 says:

      THANK YOU. I’ve never seen a team get so many calls. I like Durant, but I hate that BS where guy is near him at 3pt line and he just jumps in and wants a call — He tried it last night and refs ignored it — FINALLY.

  30. IKE (Bulls Fan) says:

    KD and Westbrook are fine, they just need a little more offensive support. They don’t have a solid 3rd option. But OKC is going to the finals and KD is getting his ring this year….. but then again…they might not be able to beat the Bulls in the finals. The Bulls trying to get a ring before D Rose comes back

  31. FunkyPiston says:

    Westbrook is jacking up way too many shots. Its a simple change really. KD should play a two man game with Ibaka which will free him up against Tony Allen. If they follow this for a couple of quarters, the lane will be open where Westbrook does the most damage. Russell should take 15 or less shots and be a play maker but not the primary scoring option.

  32. The Truth says:

    Tony Allen can’t stop KD but he knows what must be done to slow him down. Get all up in his personal space and deny the ball like crazy. 2K12 settings defence deny ball at all times. That was what Tony Allen was doing to him in late game time. I hope this grizzlies go up 3-1 so OKC can panic and see how they respond. Can’t wait.

  33. Grit n' Grind says:

    oh seeing the OH SISSY THUNDER lose. good to see those favored teams in this playoffs lose in their own floors. that’s what you call playoffs.
    only Durant and Westbrook are capable of producing points for their team anyone else of the team? none so far.
    even the bench can’t produce.even though they’ll win the series. still hats off for Allen’s suffocating defense for this years MVP. and the Grizzlies are just good medicine for Thunder’s championship aspiration this playoffs.

  34. Reeferal says:

    Tony Allen is still the best one on one defender in my mind. He gives up a lot of size but makes up for it with unrivaled tenacity. Seems like he only really locks down when faced with top tier guys. Remember he’s the guy who effectively shut LBJ down back in the 2010 playoffs. Durant’s gonna need more production out of the OKC bench to help take some of the pressure off him.

  35. lan says:

    Memphis for 2nd straight season will deny OKC again!
    Poor KD

  36. sternH8r says:

    I love Durant….but Allen is wearing him down. That being said….OKC’s defense gets the loss last night.

  37. Terry says:

    Durant wants no part of TA. Consistently TA makes KD’s life tough. TA is the best defender in the league.

  38. Game Ball says:

    MVP???? KD’s great player no doubt about that, but in game 2, take a look on KD’s face, He doesn’t want to take it away from Memphis!!! Kd’s face looks like he just wanted to survive it…. That’s the difference taking it, or surviving it, I’m no LBJ fan, But LBJ’s value is much more BIGGER in playoffs than reg season, Lebron wants to take it again…. Give that MVP award to KD, LBJ will hoist Championship Trophy AGAIN…..

  39. Brenan says:

    Memphis Grizzlies vs. Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City Thunder…seriously the only thing the rest of the team is valuable for in crunch time is defence. GO Grizz! Grit and Grind will prevail! Believe in Memphis everybody! We can defeat the Thunder, beat the Clippers/Warriors in 7, and then avenge last year from the Spurs if they manage to get past their matchups too.

  40. okc bandwagones sinse 2011 says:

    kd is 9 – 10 in the 4th
    90 fg %
    nuff said

  41. Zac says:

    KD should do some more pump-faking, Allen would fall for it early, get into and stay in foul trouble all game.

  42. Rownone says:

    yeah.. if KD wants a championship, better tell his team mates to help him not only on the defensive end..

  43. jdub455 says:

    Nobody can stop the MVP 1-on-1… the only player that annoys him in someway is battier… allen is an excellent defender but Durant is just too long… what makes the grizzlies dangerous over this team is they can control the boards which will stop the thunders running game… I think this series can go either way… even if the thunder survive the grizzlies, I’m pretty sure that they would be banged up esp westbrook… grizzlies are one balanced defensive unit and I’m rooting for them in this one. Grindhouse baby!!! (although I’m a Heat fan so I kinda wanna let the thunders win cause they are trouble for the spurs. The spurs which is the only team standing bet my team’s 3-peat! Heat can handle OKC. Spurs is dangerous. lol!)

    • John says:

      Did you not watch this game?
      Allen was all over KD. Literally every single time he had the ball allen was right in his mug, swiping, bustling, breathing down his neck every single shot he took.
      KD was limited to 3 buckets in the paint, and two of them were on fastbreaks. Count those out and he shot 9-25 : 36%FG
      Yeah he got 36 points. But that was off shooting long range jump shots. He took 25 of those. The Grizzlies will take that any day of the year.

      The truth is Allen’s got KD’s number and “the MVP” is gonna need to get some help from his team mates if OKC are gonna win this series.

      • Dj Strawberry says:

        I think Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Serge Ibaka would need to step up their offensive games, Scott Brooks needs adjustments and tweak the starting lineup a little bit.

      • Majk says:

        @John – great comment. Enjoy constructive, well written posts A LOT! The only bad thing is … they are rare!

        I think OKC mentally isn’t strong enough (to win it all). Also their second unit is quite week. As soon as one of the starting 5 is missing, things get tough for them. C’mon, did you all see what Beno Udrih was doing to them!? Yeah, even Udrih was playing like a real pro against their second unit 🙂

      • john you wrong says:

        john you so wrong its wrong its funny. memphis has no chance of winning this series they got lucky and got one game thats all

    • iamironman says:

      Memphis did a great job maximizing the shot clock and hitting their FTs. OKC wouldn’t have gotten into OT if Conley sunk his 2 missed FTs. I honestly think Memphis can win in 5 or 6.