Thunder outlast Grizzlies in 3-OT to even seriesMay 10, 2011 - 6:18 AM Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Kevin Durant made his mark on a marathon, and Oklahoma City has wrestled back homecourt advantage in its Western Conference semifinal series with Memphis.
Durant made a key block and bucket in the third overtime, scoring 35 points in all with 13 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook poured in 40 points, as the Thunder evened the series with the Grizzlies, 133-123.
James Harden donated 19 points with seven assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who will host Game 5 on Wednesday after coming out on top in just the sixth-ever NBA playoff game to last three or more overtimes.
"He (Westbrook) was terrific tonight," said Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks. "He makes everyone better."
Zach Randolph racked up 34 points and 16 rebounds, Marc Gasol posted 26 points and a staggering 21 rebounds, O.J. Mayo contributed 18 points and Michael Conley 16, but both watched in frustration for the better part of three overtimes after fouling out.
"We have to take care of leads better and finish games," said Randolph. "This one is a tough loss cause we could have won this game and have a 3-1 lead in the series."
In a war of attrition that, at times, looked like a game that neither team could win turned into one that neither team dared to lose. Memphis blew an 18- point first half lead, then Oklahoma City coughed up a double-digit fourth- quarter lead, and that was all before late Monday night turned well into Tuesday morning.
The beginning was really at the end, as Conley trained a long three from the left wing with 3.5 seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 96-96 and erase a 10-point deficit over the final five minutes. However, the momentum completely shifted in the early stages of the first overtime, as Durant's three nearly three minutes in gave the visitors nine of the stanza's first 11 points for a 105-98 game.
Mayo answered with the first of two treys in the extra session, and his second in nearly a 30-second span made it a one-possession deficit, 107-104. After a Durant turnover, Randolph was fouled in transition and made both free throws for a one-point game with 48.8 seconds left. Durant turned it over again, but this time the Grizzlies didn't take advantage, as Conley missed a trey from the opposite wing of his heroic trey at the end of regulation. Westbrook drained a pair of free throws with 16.3 ticks to go for a 109-106 edge, but an unexpected source brought the home team back to even. Greivis Vasquez, playing because Conley and Mayo fouled out, forced a closely-guarded trey from the top of the circle that found the bottom of the net with 9.4 ticks to go. Durant missed a heave at the horn.
And on they played.
The teams went back and forth, fatigued yet still scrambling for every inch, every loose ball. Randolph tipped in Tony Allen's miss to tie the game at 112-112, and moments later, Shane Battier collected his own miss off a long corner three and converted the shorter baseline shot for a two-point edge. Westbrook converted on the drive to tie the game, but again it was the unheralded Vasquez, who drained a driving layup while being hit and made the free throw for a 117-114 margin.
Harden answered with a trey to again tie the game, but the Thunder couldn't keep Memphis off the glass, as Gasol tipped in Randolph's miss with 45.9 seconds remaining. The big man had 10 offensive rebounds on the night. Westbrook pulled up on the right wing and buried the tying bucket with 30.8 seconds, setting up the frantic finish.
Randolph had two attempts at the rim, and a mad scramble for the loose ball ended with Nick Collison saving it to Harden, who called timeout with 6.3 seconds to go. Westbrook got a clean look, but he was off balance and his 18- foot jumper hit the right side of the rim.
And on they played.
Westbrook scored his 40th point while hanging in the air, putting the Thunder up 123-121 on his acrobatic bucket. Durant then made a pair of free throws, but Vasquez answered to make it a one-possession game again. Serge Ibaka's five-footer in the paint made the score 127-123 and Durant came from the weak side to block Gasol on the other end. He then threw a dagger on the other end, driving left and elevating for the short runner and a six-point lead that wrapped up the victory.
Memphis scored the game's first eight points capped by Allen's layup just over two minutes in. Back-to-back buckets facing the basket by Gasol gave the home team a 24-13 margin, and it took a 28-16 lead into the second period.
The Grizzlies opened an 18-point edge, 37-19, on Mayo's jumper, but the Thunder slowly sliced into the lead, knifing it to 47-39 on a Durant free throw with just over three minutes on the clock. Oklahoma City scored the final four points of the half, going into the locker with just a four-point deficit.
Memphis led 72-71 entering the fourth period.
Vasquez finished with 14 points in defeat...Allen chipped in with six points and Battier seven for the Grizzlies...Daequan Cook donated 10 points for the Thunder...Oklahoma City made just 5-of-24 treys, but converted 42-of-50 free throws and 45 percent of its field goals...Memphis attempted a staggering 111 field goals, due in part to 24 offensive rebounds...Memphis committed 19 turnovers that turned into 26 points for the Thunder.
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 133
Final - 3OT
May 10 1:41 AM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 109
End of OT
May 10 1:03 AM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 96
End of Regulation
May 10 12:36 AM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 71
End of 3rd
May 9 11:52 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 49
May 9 11:03 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 16
End of 1st
May 9 10:19 PM
- OKLAHOMA CITY: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
May 9 9:48 PM
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