Found May 05, 2013 on
Fox Sports Tennessee:
Oklahoma City Thunder
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Down by one in the final minute, the Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher turned a tough situation for the Thunder into the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies.
Fisher poked the ball away from Memphis' Mike Conley, springing three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant into the open court with a chance to put the Thunder on top.
Durant pulled up and connected on a jumper with 11.1 seconds left for the last of his 35 points, lifting the Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
"I just wanted to get up the floor as quick as possible and find a shot," said Durant, who finished second in league MVP voting announced Sunday. "That was the only shot I could find and, by the grace of God, it went in."
Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Thabo Sefolosha kept the Grizzlies from going back ahead, deflecting a pass that Conley was able to corral -- but only after diving out of bounds. Reggie Jackson then hit a pair of free throws for a three-point lead, and Quincy Pondexter couldn't force overtime after getting fouled while attempting a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left.
Pondexter, a 72 percent career free-throw shooter, missed the first free throw. He made his second attempt before intentionally missing the third, but Durant swatted the rebound away and Marc Gasol's attempt at a buzzer-beater was late.
"We couldn't get stops. That's why we lost," said Gasol, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. "We didn't lose because of free throws."
Kevin Martin scored 25 for Oklahoma City, which trailed for much of the game but was able to avoid repeating its Game 1 loss from when these two teams met in the West semifinals two years ago. The Thunder were able to rally and win that series in seven.
Fisher, a five-time NBA champion who only joined the Thunder after asking to be released by Dallas for family reasons earlier in the season, turned this game around with his defense.
Conley had gotten past him on a drive to the basket when Fisher reached in from behind and knocked the ball free. It was just the stop Oklahoma City needed.
"He makes plays, whether it's tipping the ball out and getting a steal or hitting the big shot to start the fourth," Durant said. "Or just his leadership in the huddles and the locker room is big for us. We need that."
Zach Randolph chipped in 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Grizzlies, and Pondexter and Conley scored 13 apiece. As a team, Memphis went 14 for 24 on free throws. Oklahoma City, which was the league's top foul shooting team with the third-best mark in NBA history, was 22 of 25.
"Obviously, we have to make free throws, especially myself," said Pondexter, who was slapped on his right arm by Jackson on his attempt at the tying 3-pointer. "We've just got to take this as a learning experience and move on."
The series opener was a competitive new chapter in an increasingly fierce rivalry, but there weren't any scuffles this time. They had combined for nine technical fouls in three meetings during the regular season, including one confrontation that got Randolph and Kendrick Perkins ejected.
After letting a seven-point lead slip away in the first half, Memphis surged back ahead with a 15-4 run early in the third quarter that featured two driving layups and a jumper by Conley. The lead stretched to 70-58 when Conley hit a free throw following 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Pondexter and Tayshaun Prince.
The Thunder started to rally before Pondexter's buzzer-beater from the half-court logo to finish the third quarter bumped the lead up to 73-64. That didn't stop Oklahoma City's comeback, though.
Fisher opened the final period with a 3-pointer and Martin converted a three-point play and a 3-pointer as the Thunder went on a 9-2 run, prompting Memphis coach Lionel Hollins to call a timeout with the lead down to 75-73 with 10:08 left.
"That shot at the buzzer, that's a great shot on his part. That's one of those things that it could have really took us back a little," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said, "but we still fought through that shot and kept competing when we were down."
After the timeout, the Grizzlies got their lead back up to seven before Durant sandwiched a pair of driving buckets around Fisher's 3-pointer in a 7-0 burst that tied it at 84 with 3:47 to play.
The Grizzlies went back up 90-87 when Serge Ibaka missed one of two free throws and Gasol followed with a hook shot with 1:08 to go.
"If you're up 3 and you've got a minute and a half, you've got to get a stop," Gasol said. "We couldn't get a stop."
Notes: Durant also finished second in the MVP race last season and in 2009. He got 93 of the 121 second-place votes in the balloting announced Sunday. ... The Thunder made their first nine shots in their only win of the season against Memphis, the best start to a game by an NBA team this season. They missed their first 10 in this one. ... Nick Collison was called for a flagrant foul after leveling Prince on a baseline drive in the second quarter. ... In the three regular-season games, the Grizzlies attempted 52 more shots largely because they had 24 more offensive rebounds. Memphis had just one more offensive rebound in this one and two more shots.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant isn't worried about tweets from Houston rookie Royce White that say the Thunder are looking shaky.
''Who's he?'' Durant asked Friday at practice.
White is a first-round pick whose acknowledged anxiety disorder has kept him from playing for Houston this season. Earlier this week, White tweeted: ''Y'all are looking...
As time was running down in game one of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies, Memphis lead by one and had the ball with a chance to extend their lead. After a turnover by Mike Conley, Thunder forward Kevin Durant had the ball in his hands with a chance to give the Thunder the lead and didn’t dissapoint as he drained the eventual...
Let's call it an "edge" Kevin Durant had in the Houston series. It's not that Durant has ever been soft, but since he entered the NBA he has been one of the most likable stars in American sports. Something changed, though, in this first-round series against the Houston Rockets.
In the series-clinching 103-94 win Friday in Houston, Durant got a technical foul for...
Kevin Durant had a strong showing on Friday night as he helped the Oklahoma City Thunder advance to the Western Conference Semifinals.
Durant posted 27 points and eight rebounds on the stat sheet in the Thunder’s first win over the Houston Rockets since starting point guard Russell Westbrook went down.
The Thunder fought back from an eight-point third quarter deficit to win...
Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals of Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder was on Sunday, and it was a tightly contested matchup for both teams despite an earlier double-digit lead for Memphis. The team with the second-best player in the league won this game and just take a few moments and watch Kevin [...]The post Watch Kevin Durant’s Game-Winner in Slo-Mo (Video...
Game 1 of the second round match up between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies took place today at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Grizzlies lead for virtually the entire game, but the Thunder battled back in the fourth quarter and found themselves down by one with time winding down and the ball in Kevin Durant’s hand.
Watch the video to see what happened next:
Kevin Durant gave the Thunder a 1-0 series lead on the Grizzlies Sunday afternoon with a go-ahead game-winner with 11.1 seconds remaining. Durant grabbed the loose ball after Mike Conley committed the turnover on a drive to the hoop and dribbled into a midrange jumper, his 12th points of the fourth quarter to give the Thunder a 91-90 lead – and eventual 93-91 win.
Without Russell Westbrook, Thunder star Kevin Durant has to dominate even more and in last night’s game 1 with Memphis he did that. Game 1 was going down to the wire; with the Grizzlies up by 1 Durant nailed a 15 footer to give the Thunder a 1 point lead. The Thunder than held onto win 93-91. Check out his game winning shot below. Durant is cool as they come with the pressure on...
After being down 3-0 the Houston Rockets have won two straight games over the Oklahoma City Thunder. After game 5 one of the Rockets bench warmers called Kevin Durant out on Twitter.
Royce White is not even a bench warmer; he is not with the Rockets for the playoffs. White suffers from an anxiety disorder, and has not played for the Rockets all season long. He has spent time in the...
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 35 points and hit a pair of jumpers in the final minute to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Derek Fisher poked the ball away from Mike Conley to spring Durant the other way, and he pulled up to make a shot with 11.1 seconds left that put...
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Pondering Kevin Durant's latest big-time shot on the playoff stage, Lionel Hollins started listing a who's who of NBA greats from days gone by: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, George Mikan, Bob Pettit.
What do they all have in common?
"If you just go through the history, all the great players...
HOUSTON (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Kevin Martin added 25 to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 103-94 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night, sending them to the second round of the playoffs for the third straight season.
The Rockets were looking to become just the fourth team in NBA history to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.
But the Thunder opened...
For the Oklahoma City Thunder this playoff series was tough in many ways. They lost their star player Russell Westbrook to injury and the series went to six games. Last night the Thunder beat the Houston Rockets 103-94. Now many people are saying that with the trouble the Thunder had with the Rockets and Westbrook out the team should concentrate their efforts for next year.
Well, that was quick. Only 3 days removed from having his superstar credentials questioned for daring to drop back-to-back games to the *gasp* Houston Rockets, Kevin Durant put on a dazzling all around display, dropping 35 points, snatching 15 boards and handing out 6 dimes en route to a thrilling 93-91 come-from-behind win over the Grizzlies. "Grit n Grind" couldn'...