Oklahoma City wins series 4-3 (Game 6 of 7)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Saturday, April 26th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st
Game 7: Saturday, May 3rd

Thunder 104

(59-23, 25-16 away)

Grizzlies 84

(50-32, 27-14 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:00 PM ET, May 1, 2014

    FedExForum, Memphis, TN

    1 2 3 4 T
    OKC 25 31 26 22104
    MEM 17 24 20 2384

    Top Performers

    Okc: K. Durant 36 Pts, 10 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mem: M. Gasol 17 Pts, 5 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Stl

    Kevin Durant's 36 points, 10 boards help Thunder take Griz to Game 7

    Associated Press

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Kevin Durant insisted the Thunder facing elimination was all the motivation he needed.

    Thanks to the NBA's best scorer, the Thunder remain alive and can finish off the Memphis Grizzlies back in Oklahoma City.

    Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump, and the Thunder routed the Grizzlies 104-84 on Thursday night to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series. His performance came on a day where the hometown newspaper questioned his struggles with a headline calling him "Mr. Unreliable."

    "We needed to win this game," Durant said. "That's more motivation than anything, so our team responded. We've got to do an even better job in Game 7."

    Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven't been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. They took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter, led by 15 at halftime and never let Memphis get that close again in the second half in the first game in the series that didn't go to overtime since the opener.

    "You don't get to his level as an NBA player and a great player as he is to have other people motivate you," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He's self-motivated. He's a tremendous kid and does everything for his team, for our organization. We're proud of him because he gives everything he has. That was the only focus for tonight's game."

    Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of 15 free throws. Reggie Jackson had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, who will host Game 7 on Saturday night.

    Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said the Thunder simply wanted the game more and called the loss embarrassing in front of a sellout crowd.

    "Now, we've shot ourselves in the foot, and we have to go to a hostile environment now and pretty much show where our heart is at," Allen said.

    Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis. Guard Mike Conley strained his right hamstring, briefly returned and left for good with 8:48 left. Conley went down in the third quarter near midcourt dribbling when Kendrick Perkins reached in for a steal. The Memphis guard returned briefly, but Conley was limping noticeably.

    With the Thunder in control, Conley went to the locker room again and didn't return.

    Nick Calathes currently is suspended for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy, leaving Memphis with only Beno Udrih at point guard. Memphis coach Dave Joerger said Udrih will play a lot of minutes if Conley can't. Conley said he will be re-evaluated Friday and receive as much treatment as possible before tipoff Saturday.

    "I plan on playing," Conley said.

    Durant had to answer questions after the shootaround Thursday about that headline in The Oklahoman newspaper. Durant said he had no problem with the headline and that he just needed to hit shots and be more aggressive.

    Smiling just before tipoff, Durant did just that. The man who led the NBA scoring 32 points a game during the regular season opened by hitting five of his first seven and finished 11 of 23 from the floor. He continued to struggle outside the arc where he missed all six of his attempts.

    The Grizzlies had a chance to advance to their third semifinal in four years on their own floor. Yet they couldn't shoot well or match the Thunder's intensity with a sloppy performance in front of a sellout crowd that tried to energize the Grizzlies. Oklahoma City outrebounded Memphis 47-36 and easily outshot them 49.3 percent (37 of 75) to 37.3 percent (31 of 83).

    "We knew sooner or later our shots would fall," Brooks said.

    Brooks also benched Thabo Sefolosha and started Caron Butler.

    "This is why you play the game to prove doubters wrong, and adversity builds character," Butler said. "This team has a strong character and a will."

    Memphis last led 6-4. A team that thrives off defense, the Grizzlies couldn't knock down shots even when they managed to get consecutive stops.

    The Grizzlies got to 42-37 with 3:08 left on a steal and fast-break layup by Conley. The Thunder finished the half with a 14-4 run for a 56-41 lead. The Grizzlies missed their first six shots to open the third quarter, finishing any hopes of a comeback.

    James Johnson scored 15 points off the bench for Memphis, and Allen added 13.

    Game notes

    This will be the second Game 7 between the teams in four years. Oklahoma City beat Memphis in seven in the 2011 conference semifinals. ... The Grizzlies are 4-1 with a chance to close out a series. ... Steven Adams blocked a career-high five shots off the bench for the Thunder.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Research Notes

    Analysis: The Grizzlies were held to their third-lowest effective field goal percentage Thursday.
    Mike Conley entered Game 6 as the most prolific scorer on drives this postseason, averaging 8.0 points per game on those plays according to player tracking. In Game 6, Conley shot 1-of-6 on drives, netting 2 points.
    Kevin Durant matched his postseason high with 36 points Thursday after scoring 41 points combined the past two games. How was Durant able to get off the "slide"? - Durant scored 16 points in the paint Thursday, his most in regulation this postseason. Durant was 8 of 13 on attempts in the paint. - The Thunder were able to get Durant more touches in prime scoring areas. Only 5 of his 23 field goal attempts (22 percent) came on touches that started beyond the three-point line in Game 6. Entering the game, 47 percent of his attempts came on touches that originated beyond the arc. - For this first time this series, Tony Allen wasn't the primary defender on Durant. Durant attempted only 7 of his 23 field goals against Allen Thursday, including 2 in the first half. Durant went 3 of 7 with 9 points against Allen overall in Game 6, but went 8 of 16 with 26 points against all others. Allen has held Durant to 35.1 percent shooting on the series.
    A 35-point playoff game vs the Grizzlies is rare, unless your name is Kevin Durant.
    Kevin Durant scored 36 points to stave off elimination on Thursday. He's done much better in elimination games against the Grizzlies than other opponents.
    Kevin Durant has been defended by Tony Allen on 75 of his 195 plays this postseason (38.5%). Through 6 games, Durant is shooting 35.1% from the field with Allen as his primary defender compared to 45.1% against all others.
    Russell Westbrook limited the number of jump shots he took off the dribble Thursday and it helped his efficiency. Westbrook shot a series-high 66.7% on pull-up jumpers in Game 6 with a series-low nine attempts.
    Thunder have a +6 edge in points in the paint at half against the Grizzlies. In the previous five games, they were outscored by an average of 12.4 points in the paint.
    The Grizzlies are trying to become the 6th 7 seed to defeat a 2 seed in a playoff series all-time. 7 seeds are 5-56 all-time in 1st Round playoff series against 2 seeds.
    Kevin Durant is just 1-4 all-time in elimination games and he's shooting just 38.9 percent from the field, well below his field goal percentage of 46.3 in all other postseason games. For comparisons sake, LeBron James is 7-6 all-time in elimination games while Michael Jordan went 6-7.
    Kevin Durant scored 10 points in the paint in the 1st quarter of Game 6. He scored a total of 6 paint points in both Games 4 and 5.
    If the Thunder fall to the Grizzlies and Kevin Durant wins MVP, it would be just the 4th instance in which a player won the award and then lost in the Conference Quarterfinals dating back to when that round began in 1975.
    Here are some stats on Kevin Durant after losses in the playoffs and in elimination games... Durant is 9-13 in his postseason career after a playoff loss and he is 1-4 in his postseason career, previous to tonight, on the brink of elimination... Kevin Durant- Brink of elimination W-L: 1-4 PPG: 28.2 (141/5) RPG: 8.6 (43/5) APG: 3.2 (16/5) Steals PG: 0.8 (4/5) Blocks PG: 1.6 (8/5) FG Pct: 38.9 (44-113) (Averaging: 8.8 FGM-22.6 FGA) Here are Durant's stats in the playoffs after a loss: W-L: 9-13 PPG: 28.5 (627/22) RPG: 8.6 (190/22) APG: 3.4 (74/22) Steals PG: 1.4 (30/22) Blocks PG: 1.4 (31/22) FG Pct: 43.3 (208-480) (Averaging: 9.5 FGM-21.8 FGA) When comparing Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan, here are Jordan and LeBron's numbers on the brink of elimination in their careers to compare with Durant... Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan Elimination Games In Career W-L PPG FG Pct Durant 1-4 28.2 38.9 James 7-6 31.9 46.5 Jordan 6-7 31.3 45.8 LeBron James- W-L: 7-6 PPG: 31.9 RPG: 10.2 APG: 6.5 Steals PG: 1.4 Blocks PG: 0.6 FG Pct: 46.5 (139-299) (Averaging: 10.7 FGM-23 FGA) Michael Jordan- W-L: 6-7 PPG: 31.3 RPG: 7.9 APG: 7 Steals PG: 2 Blocks PG: 1.3 FG Pct: 45.8 (143-312) (Averaging: 11 FGM-24 FGA)

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