Thunder tie series with Memphis with 3 OT thriller

By Teresa M. Walker

Associated Press

Published: Monday, May 9 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33), of Spain, talks with forward Zach Randolph (50) during the first half against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series on Monday, May 9, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn.

Wade Payne, Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Trading comebacks and clutch shots, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies looked as if they might play all night.

And considering how entertaining Game 4 of their Western Conference playoff series was, it's doubtful anyone would have complained.

In the end, though, Kevin Durant and the Thunder refused to let another overtime playoff game slip away and now the series is tied 2-2.

Durant scored six of his 35 points in the third overtime, and the Thunder scored the final 10 points to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 133-123 in a thriller that started Monday night and ended early Tuesday morning.

It was the second straight overtime game in the series and the NBA's first triple-overtime playoff game since Chicago downed Boston 128-127 on April 30, 2009.

Durant summed it up best, calling it a game that will go down as one of the best in NBA history.

"It was fun. It was something I can tell my kids that I played in a great game like this," Durant said with a smile.

Fans got on their feet late in regulation and stayed standing until the end, though many started trickling to the exits as the clock ticked well past midnight local time.

With the victory, the Thunder regained home-court advantage and tied this Western Conference semifinal at two games apiece by handing the Grizzlies their first loss in Memphis this postseason. Game 5 is on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City. The winner of the series will play the Dallas Mavericks in the conference finals.

"We've got to keep fighting, though," Durant said. "It's tied up right now. We're taking it back to our house. So we'll see how we handle it."

The Thunder and Grizzlies went to overtime for the third time this season.

The Thunder blew a 16-point lead in losing Game 3 101-93 in overtime. This time, Memphis was up 18, lost that and fell behind 10 in the fourth quarter only to rally.

Memphis' Mike Conley hit a 3 over a couple defenders to set up the first overtime. Grizzlies rookie Greivis Vasquez hit an off-balance, one-handed 3 setting up the second overtime, and it was Marc Gasol's scoring to help extend this game five more minutes.

"Both teams kept coming back and fighting and fighting and fighting. It became a matter of just not having enough bullets as the game wore on," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "Nobody wanted to go home. Nobody wanted to lose."

Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 40 points and only three turnovers in more than 51 minutes of play. James Harden added 19, and Daequan Cook had 10. Durant, Westbrook and Harden played the most minutes in a single game in their pro careers. For Memphis, Zach Randolph and Gasol posted career highs in minutes.

The Grizzlies ran out of energy in the third overtime as they hit 1 of 9 from the floor. The Thunder outscored Memphis 14-4 in the final overtime.

Randolph led Memphis with 34 points and 16 rebounds. Gasol had 26 and 21 rebounds. O.J. Mayo had 18 points and Conley 16 before both fouled out. Vasquez had 14.

"We thought it was destined for us to win, but ain't nothing given to you in the NBA," Randolph said. "You've got to go out and take it."

Thunder forward Nick Collison called it the craziest game he has played.

"The good thing about our team is we felt like we fought so hard we earned that game, so we didn't want to give in," Collison said. "It would have been easy to give in at that time, but we didn't do it. It's a huge win for us and says a lot about us."

The Thunder had their chances to win at the end of regulation and each overtime.

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