Thunder Loses Overtime Heartbreaker In Memphis

Tuesday, May 14th 2013, 1:54 am
By: News 9

Oklahoma City's role players showed up to help Kevin Durant for the first time since Game 1, but after 48 minutes of regulation plus overtime, it still wasn't enough to hold off the Grizzlies.

Memphis pounced on the Thunder late, repeating the trend of shutting down OKC in the final few minutes en route to a 103-97 Grizzlies' Game 4 victory that puts the top-seeded Thunder's back against the wall down 3-1 in the series.

The Thunder got off to a hot start, storming out of the gates to take a 29-18 lead after the first quarter that swelled into a 17-point advantage with four minutes left in the second quarter. But Memphis slowly chipped away, cutting the OKC advantage to just eight heading into halftime.

And like the previous three games in this series, the second half turned into a slugfest.

OKC never trailed by more than two in regulation and that came after a Marc Gasol free-throw gave Memphis a 94-92 lead with 10 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, but a quick Kevin Durant runner knotted things up just four seconds later to force overtime. That shot ended a five-minute and 18-second field goal drought for the Thunder, which aided the Grizzlies' comeback efforts.

That shooting skid would only continue in the extra period.

Derek Fisher's 3-pointer with 1:54 remaining in overtime was the lone field goal for the Thunder in OT, as Memphis outscored OKC 9-3.

The late-game scoring woes are becoming a trend in this series. In the past three games, Durant is just 1-for-10 shooting and the team is 4-of-18 overall in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime. Oklahoma City has lost all three.

Despite not being able to find the basket, the Thunder trailed by only three with 21 seconds remaining but an errant pass from Fisher resulted in a steal and a foul that put Gasol on the line. He hit 1-of-2 free throws to give the Grizzlies a two-possession lead that they would not relinquish.

The Thunder's late shooting struggles were a drastic change from a first half in which the team shot 53.8 percent and got key contributions from nearly everyone on the floor. But it didn't last as OKC ran out of gas with its tightened rotation, yet again.

Durant led the way with 27 points, seven assists and seven rebounds, but he did it on a rather inefficient 10-of-27 shooting performance.

Serge Ibaka finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds in what was clearly his best game of the series so far, but he wasn't as effective in the second half with just four points and four boards.

Reggie Jackson scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting with eight assists in a career-high 48 minutes and Kevin Martin added 18 off the bench in the loss.

Mike Conley once again led Memphis in scoring with 24 points, while the inside duo of Gasol and Zach Randolph had 23 points each.

The series shifts back to Chesapeake Energy Arena on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. where the Thunder will try to avoid getting eliminated from the Playoffs in a pivotal Game 5.