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

Westbrook's jumper hit the rim before the buzzer to end the first 48 minutes. Durant, the NBA's leading scorer, had a 3 fall short of the basket at the end of the first overtime, and Westbrook's long jumper grazed the front of the rim at the buzzer ending the second overtime.

"We had the game won a few times," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "They made some incredible shots. That wasn't bad execution. Down the stretch, they made some incredible shots. That's what NBA players do. They make tough shots, and both teams did that tonight."

In the third overtime, the Thunder finally took control.

Fatigue caught up with the Grizzlies counting on Randolph and Gasol to score with Conley and Mayo fouled out.

"It was a great, great, great showcase for the fans, but we needed it more than they did," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said. "But they showed poise, and they were the aggressor. They wanted it more than we did."

Oklahoma City, the NBA's best free-throw shooting team, got back into this one at the line, where much of this game was spent.

The Thunder hit 15 of 17 shots in the second quarter alone and finished 31 of 39 in regulation. Durant, who missed his lone attempt in Game 3, was 16 of 18 at the line himself. The Thunder went 42 of 50 at the line. Memphis hit 37 of 40.

Memphis led by as much as 18 points when Mayo scored with 8:21 left in the second quarter at 37-19. Then the Thunder went small and sent one Memphis player after another to the bench in foul trouble. They hit 15 of 17 in the second quarter to pull within 53-49 at halftime.

Durant completed the comeback by tying it at 61 with 7:30 left on a pull-up jumper that was just his third made field goal, which he celebrated with a fist pump.

Westbrook put Oklahoma City up for the first time in the game with a driving layup with 5:16 left in the third, and that set up the game that no one wanted to end.

NOTES: Teams with the home-court advantage and the series tied at 2 finish off the series with a win 73.9 percent of the time, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... This game matched the Grizzlies' longest game since moving from Vancouver to Memphis. The Grizzlies played a triple-OT game Nov. 1, 2006, and lost 118-117 to the Knicks. For the Thunder franchise, the team's last triple-OT game was Dec. 1, 1990, when the then-Sonics lost 130-124 to Portland.

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