NEXT GAME: Thursday, May 1
9-for-9 Free throw shooting numbers for Russell Westbrook, who had 30 points along with ten rebounds in his triple-double
12 Rebounds for Serge Ibaka, in addition to 15 points
13 Assists for Russell Westbrook, part of 24 for the Thunder on the night
19 Offensive rebounds for the Thunder, which it converted into 14 points
26 Points for Kevin Durant in addition to eight rebounds and two assists
31.4 Shooting percentage the Thunder held the Grizzlies to in the second half
47-35 The amount by which the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies in the second half
April 29th, 2014
At this point, overtime seems inevitable in this first round series between the Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Once again on Tuesday night in Game 5, Head Coach Scott Brooks’ Thunder squad and the Grizzlies did battle, this time in Chesapeake Energy Arena, and unsurprisingly, this one ended up in overtime just like the previous three games in this hotly contested series. Despite falling behind by 20 points, the Thunder clawed back, eventually taking a lead late in the fourth quarter, but ultimately fell 100-99 in overtime.
After a 27-6 run that spanned the third and fourth quarter, a Russell Westbrook steal at the top of the key and slam dunk with 4.0 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game into overtime, as the Grizzlies couldn’t get a shot off in time to beat the buzzer.
“At that time out we just told ourselves to get a stop and find a way to get a stop,” Westbrook said of his steal. “I was fortunate enough to get a steal and get a dunk. I definitely thought it gave us some momentum going into overtime. We just couldn’t close it out.”
“It was just continuing to play together, and not going for the home run but just playing basketball,” forward Caron Butler said. “We went from side to side and getting their bigs moving, trusting in one another, believing in one another, and keeping our guards open. It was just playing good team basketball and we got ourselves back into the game. We just fell a little short.”
In the extra frame, the Grizzlies got back-to-back three-pointers from Mike Miller to start the period, but the Thunder would eventually tie the game at 98-98. Mike Conley then drove for a layup with 1:02 remaining, and Kevin Durant made one of two free throws to make it a one-point game. After getting a stop with some tough defense and forcing Miller to miss a long three-point jumper, the Thunder had 2.9 seconds remaining to get a shot off.
After a Kevin Durant three-point attempt went wide, Serge Ibaka’s potential game-winning tip in was just a tenth of a second too late to beat the overtime buzzer. An instant sooner and the Thunder would be heading to Memphis up 3-2 instead of down by that margin in the series, meaning the Thunder knows it has its back against the wall in an elimination Game 6 on Thursday.
“We have won there before,” Westbrook said. “We know what we need to do to win the game. We just need to come out and play our game. We need to come out and impose our will.”
Trailing by 20, midway through the third quarter was not the situation the Thunder wanted to be in, but it made a huge push late in the period and into the fourth quarter to make this one yet another thriller. Down 72-52 with 3:43 remaining in the quarter, the Thunder immediately went on a 27-6 run that helped Head Coach Scott Brooks’ team take the lead with 6:46 remaining in regulation.
The burst started with back-to-back three-pointers from Caron Butler and Kevin Durant, then an old-fashioned three-point play by Serge Ibaka. All three buckets were assisted, then Russell Westbrook hit Butler again for a three-pointer, before finding Ibaka for a layup. Durant splashed a free throw in the middle of that stretch, and then Westbrook capped the third quarter with a three-pointer with 3.7 seconds left to make it 76-70 Grizzlies heading into the final quarter.
The Thunder held the Grizzlies scoreless for nearly four straight minutes to start the fourth quarter, while managing a Durant jumper and a Butler put-back for itself in the meantime. Westbrook answered two Grizzlies free throws with a layup, then found Durant for a three-pointer to give the Thunder its first lead of the game at 79-78 with 6:46 left. From there on out, it was anyone’s game.
“It was just playing together,” Westbrook explained. “I thought we did a good job, just kept fighting, kept fighting and attacking them. That got us back in the game.”
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Russell Westbrook hustles over to impact a shot at the rim and force a bad miss. Beautiful backdoor bounce pass by Durant to a cutting Westbrook for a dunk, then Thabo Sefolosha slaps the ball out from behind to start a fast break. Great closeouts by the Thunder forces a shot clock violation. Incredible vision from Westbrook to find Serge Ibaka in the corner for a three-pointer to end the quarter. Strong post defense by Durant forces his man to turn it over.
PLAYS THE BOX SCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Great job underneath by Ibaka to force Zach Randolph into a touch catch and then a shot clock violation. Durant and his teammates scratch and claw for a loose ball and come away with it, earning two free throws the other way. Westbrook slides over in helpside defense and draws a timely charge. Butler and Collison box out strong and draw an offensive foul. Strong box out from Serge Ibaka gives himself a chance to tip out a rebound to himself.
“We have got to turn this page as quick as we can and put all of our attention, energy and focus into the next game. We still have an opportunity to go there and continue to fight.” – Head Coach Scott Brooks