Thunder try to stave off elimination in trip to Memphis
(SportsNetwork.com) - Perhaps the greatest first-round series in NBA playoff history could come to an end Thursday night.
The Memphis Grizzlies can eliminate the Oklahoma City Thunder in their own building when the two teams meet for Game 6 at FedExForum.
Memphis won Game 5 in overtime, which was no surprise considering the last four games have required extra time. That tied a record for most overtime games in one series and showed how even the two teams are, despite the discrepancy in seeding.
"We get it out of the mud, we grind and we're underdogs. It's what we do," Memphis forward Zach Randolph said.
The Grizzlies made it to the Western Conference Finals last season and are one of five teams in NBA history to win a first-round series as a No. 8 seed over a No. 1.
But the Thunder finished with the second-best record in the league. The presumptive league MVP, Kevin Durant, wears an Oklahoma City uniform and the Thunder can take some confidence from halting Memphis' 15-game home winning streak in Game 4.
"You have to win four games to win a series," OKC head coach Scott Brooks said. "They're one game ahead of us right now. We have a great opportunity to go in there and play with a lot of confidence, a lot of composure and give ourselves a chance to win."
The Thunder had a great chance to win Game 5, but Serge Ibaka's tip-in came a blink after the overtime buzzer sounded, and the Grizzlies walked out with a 100-99 victory.
The fourth straight overtime game came when OKC's Russell Westbrook stripped Mike Conley at the top of the key and went in for an uncontested layup with 4.0 seconds left in regulation.
Durant had a chance to even things again late in OT, but after hitting the first of his two free throw attempts with 27.5 ticks left, referee Joey Crawford physically stopped the 87-percent free throw shooter from attempting his second try to fix a problem at the scorer's table.
Durant drew iron when play resumed, then found the back rim on a fallaway 28- footer as time ticked away. Ibaka's acrobatic follow went in, but after a review, it was determined his hand was on the ball just as the clock hit zero.
"I had a good look at it and I thought it was good when it left my hand," Durant said of the fallaway. "And then Serge's follow shot was just late. It was a tough finish, but we've got to come back."
Mike Miller scored six of his team-high 21 points in overtime, while Randolph and Marc Gasol each recorded double-doubles for the Grizzlies, who can send the Thunder home from the postseason for the second straight year.
Westbrook finished with a triple-double of 30 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds, while Durant chipped in with 26 points and eight boards for Oklahoma City. Durant passed Gary Payton for most playoff points scored in franchise history.
Ibaka also posted a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Oklahoma City guard Derek Fisher passed Robert Horry for the most playoff appearances in NBA history with 245.
"This is not something that hasn't been done before," said Fisher. "We won a game in Memphis a few days ago and we've put ourselves in a position to have to do it again."
If the Thunder are successful on Thursday, Game 7 will be back in Oklahoma City on Saturday.
05/01 10:55:01 ET