Scott Brooks kept telling his Oklahoma City Thunder they needed to hang on for just five more minutes. And, five more minutes. Finally for one last time, five more minutes.That’s when Kevin Durant scored six of his 35 points in the third overtime, and the Thunder survived a thriller in holding off the Memphis Grizzlies 133-123 in a game that ended Tuesday morning.
With the victory, the Thunder regained home-court advantage and tied this Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece by handing the Grizzlies their first loss in Memphis this postseason. Durant credited Memphis with playing an unbelievable game and pressuring the Thunder throughout in a fun game he’ll tell his children about someday.
“This game is something people are going to be talking about for a while,” Durant said. “I’m glad I’m a part of it.”
Game 5 is on Wednesday night back in Oklahoma City. The winner of the series will play the Dallas Mavericks in the conference finals.
“We’ve got to keep fighting, though,” Durant said. “It’s tied up right now. We’re taking it back to our house. So we’ll see how we handle it.”
The finish couldn’t have been more exciting in the second straight overtime game in this series. The sellout crowd stood through each extra period, though fans started trickling toward the exits as the clock ticked past midnight locally.
Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 40 points and only three turnovers in more than 51 minutes of play. James Harden added 19, and Daequan Cook had 10.
“We had the game won a few times,” Brooks said. “They made some incredible shots. That wasn’t bad execution. Down the stretch, they made some incredible shots. That’s what NBA players do. They make tough shots, and both teams did that tonight.”
The Grizzlies ran out of energy in the third overtime as they hit just 1 of 9 from the floor. Zach Randolph led Memphis with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Marc Gasol had 26 and 21 rebounds. O.J. Mayo had 18 and Mike Conley 16 before both fouled out.Greivis Vasquez had 14.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins thanked people for staying up past their bedtimes for a game that was great for fans and the NBA.
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