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BeitragVerfasst: 26.12.2017, 04:58 
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Memphis Grizzlies might have all summer to think their dismal effort Thursday night. The Grizzlies could have closed out the Thunder at home, but Oklahoma City jumped on them from the start and rolled to a 20-point victory. Now, Memphis must play Game 7 on the road Saturday without scoring leader Zach Randolph and possibly point guard Mike Conley. Randolph was suspended for punching Steven Adams in the jaw late in Game 6. The Grizzlies had no comment on the NBAs decision after landing in Oklahoma City, according to team spokesman Jason Wallace. Conley strained his right hamstring in the loss and is struggling to recover. Memphis backup point guard, Nick Calathes, is out for the series because of a drug suspension, meaning No. 3 point guard Beno Udrih will likely carry more responsibility against Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson, two of the quickest point guards in the NBA. Conley said Friday that he plans to play, but he expects to be sore. "Me being banged up, youre going to have to ask more out of different guys, see a lot of guys step up," he said. "Were still excited and confident going into tomorrows game, regardless of injuries and how last nights game went." Memphis coach Dave Joergers team has dealt with injuries and lineup changes all season. Tony Allen missed 27 games this season, Marc Gasol 23 and Conley nine. Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis will likely fill Randolphs minutes. "This is it," Joerger said. "Whatever you want to say about the season, its all come down to one game. Certainly, for us to have the best chance to win, we have to play better than we did last night." Even with the issues the Grizzlies face, nothing has been certain in this matchup. The home team has won just twice in a series that has featured four overtime games. Thunder star Kevin Durant said Game 7 is like playing in the NCAA tournament. "You dont have no other option but to win," he said. "You cant get the game back. Its Game 7. You have to be ready to go." The teams have met in the playoffs three of the past four years. Oklahoma City beat Memphis in seven games in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals. "I remember the feeling afterward, and I dont want to repeat that," Gasol said. If the Grizzlies cant control Westbrook, a repeat is possible. Westbrook, who at times has played recklessly in the series, scored an efficient 25 points on Thursday and engineered an offence that shot 49 per cent. His willingness to set up his teammates helped Durant score 14 points in the first quarter. "He was really mindful of looking for guys and finding guys early, picking and choosing his spots well," Durant said. Durant bounced back from his recent struggles with 36 points and 10 rebounds in Game 6. He made 6 of 10 shots in the first quarter Thursday night to set the tone and went 11 for 23 from the field. "Kevin just came out with a different kind of assertiveness last game," Oklahoma City guard Caron Butler said. "He was just real precise and he was vocal." The Grizzlies said they cant allow Durant to get going like that again or their season might be over. "We have to be better at finding him," Allen said. "We understand what he wants to do. Weve just got to be the aggressors on the defensive end. We understand coming into this series, hes going to be an MVP-type player, and we just have to be ready." Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who rarely makes lineup changes, started Butler at shooting guard over Thabo Sefolosha in Game 6. Butler, a better offensive threat than Sefolosha, helped space the floor and opened lanes for Durant and Westbrook. Brooks said Butler will remain in the starting lineup for Saturdays game. Brooks also played Adams more than usual in Game 6, and he responded with five blocks in 21 minutes on Thursday. Brooks said Adams earned the increase in playing time with his hard work in practice and his improvement throughout the season. The game could come down to tempo. In Games 1 and 6, the two matchups with a quicker pace, the Thunder won by double digits. Memphis turned the other four games into slower-paced, grind-it-out overtime battles and won three of them. "It makes for great storylines, but it comes down to playing good basketball," Brooks said. "Executing on both ends, making shots along the way, just continuing to play together and understanding that theres going to be some runs by either team that you have to stay focused and stay together through, and just being committed to what we want to do each possession." Marcus Martin Jersey .com) - Nicklas Backstrom scored a pair of goals and Alex Ovechkin notched a highlight-reel tally, leading the Washington Capitals to a 4-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Saturday at the Prudential Center. 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The 26-year-old Boll had two goals and one assist with 126 penalty minutes in 54 games with the Blue Jackets in 2011-12.PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Seattle Mariners have their new closer. Fernando Rodney took part in Seattles first workout for pitchers and catchers Thursday, soon after the reliever signed a two-year contract worth $14 million. Rodney reported to spring training on Wednesday and passed his physical, clearing the way for the Mariners to add him to their 40-man roster and announce his contract. "It feels good to be here," Rodney said. "You guys know my situation. I just try to come in and close the game. I think we have the right guys here." The 36-year-old Rodney was 5-4 with 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2013. He ranked second in the American League in saves and ERA over the past two seasons, with a combined 85 saves and a 1.91 ERA. The Dominican right-hander said three other teams were interested in signing him -- Baltimore, the New York Mets and Cleveland. Rodney has aa history with Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon, who was the bullpen coach in Detroit when Rodney played for the Tigers.dddddddddddd Rodney said he wasnt surprised that it took until February for him to sign with a team. "I think I got the right (timing) and the right organization," Rodney said. "They were more interested in me, thats why Im here." Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar were last seasons closers for Seattle. They combined for 40 saves, with Farquhar replacing the struggling Wilhelmsen in early August. "Were extremely happy to have him and he certainly solidifies the back end of our bullpen," McClendon said. Rodney is known for the way he wears his cap, the bill tilted to one side, and his save celebration in which he shoots an imaginary arrow into the sky. "Great character. The fans in Seattle are going to love him," McClendon said. 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