4-1 IN SERIES
5 Number of Thunder players who had five-or-more rebounds
6 Assists for Kevin Durant in addition to 21 points and eight rebounds
9 Rebounds for Reggie Jackson in addition to 16 points and five assists
16-4 The run the Thunder made late in the third quarter to get back into the game
16-11 The Thunder’s advantage in second chance points
24-14 The amount by which the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies by in the third quarter
23 Bench points for the Thunder, including 10 by Kevin Martin, nine by Derek Fisher and four by Nick Collison
May 15th, 2013
The Thunder faced tremendous adversity and even though it fell short tonight, every man’s head hangs high.
Head Coach Scott Brooks’ club fell 88-84 to the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Five, and ultimately 4-1 in its second round series, but just as it did in Games One through Four, it gave itself an opportunity to win the game. The Thunder clawed back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to bring the game within two points with 14 seconds remaining, but a Kevin Durant elbow jumper that would have tied the game just bounced off the rim, ending the game, and the Thunder’s season.
“We didn’t have a lot of shots fall in, but we didn’t keep our head down and stop competing,” Brooks said. “That’s what our team is built on.”
Despite being down in the series and in the game, the Thunder didn’t relent. On its home court at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Brooks’ club battled and made sure to give it’s all on every single possession in order to put itself in a position to win. That attitude was the same throughout the series, and it allowed the Thunder to win Game One, and be in position to win Games Two through Five. Despite coming up short, this Thunder squad had an opportunity to win every single night because of the effort, energy and intensity it displayed.
“We still competed,” Brooks said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win every game so I’m proud of our guys.”
Leaders like Kevin Durant helped the rest of the squad put themselves in the best possible place in order to be successful. Regardless of whether shots fell, the Thunder knew that every single player on the roster impacted winning in some way, even on the margins. Tonight the Thunder may have allowed too many points off turnovers and missed a few key shots in the second half, but overall, the team played with heart and collective desire.
“That’s why we can keep our chins up, and get better during the summer,” guard Thabo Sefolosha said. “We just keep fighting no matter what. That’s what we do. We take it one game at a time and unfortunately tonight wasn’t enough.”
The Thunder displayed a strong mentality and each man sacrificed for the greater good all season, and never was it more evident than in Game Five tonight. Despite the final outcome, everyone in the organization can hold its head high and be proud of the effort they gave. While it hurts to be out of the postseason at this point, it’s all a part of the process that it takes to achieve the highest levels of success in the NBA.
“Down the line we are going to look back on this and really appreciate it,” Durant said. “Sometimes you’ve got to ride out the storm to get to the sunshine. We’ve got to continue to keep believing in each other and believe in this process and we’ll be alright.”
The Thunder trailed by as many as 14 in this contest and by 12 in the fourth quarter, but clawed all the way back to within two points with 14.3 seconds remaining after a Reggie Jackson three-pointer. Zach Randolph missed two free throws and the Thunder gained possession off the rebound and called timeout to advance the ball up the floor. Derek Fisher then in-bounded the ball to Reggie Jackson, who fed Kevin Durant on a post-up just above the elbow. Durant then pump-faked and got free for an elbow jumper but it just bounced off the rim. Tony Allen snagged the rebound and knocked down two free throws to effectively end the game.
Plays the box score won't show, first half:
Good positioning and a strong box out by Ibaka to snare a defensive rebound and keep Marc Gasol off the glass. Durant dives into the first row to save a loose ball and keep possession. Great post defense by Perkins to body up Gasol and force him way out of the lane. Nice pump fake by Martin to make his man move and free himself up for a jumper. Martin shoots the passing lane and knocks the ball out of bounds to disrupt a Memphis possession.
Plays the box score won't show, second half:
Sefolosha uses quick hands to snare an errant pass then drains a three-pointer. Slick bounce pass into the lane from Jackson to Ibaka to earn a bucket and the foul. Sefolosha uses his length to make a steal and then slap an offensive rebound off the backboard to himself. Ibaka slaps an offensive rebound out to a teammate then gets it back for a big slam dunk. Fisher stands his ground and draws an offensive foul. Durant slides over in help defense and draws a charge. Fisher dives on the floor to grab the loose ball.
“I’m sure we’re going to look back on this down the line and appreciate this tough time. It’s something that we’ve got to embrace and get better from. It’s tough to lose your last game of the playoffs but you’ve just got to move on.” – Forward Kevin Durant