NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, May 3rd
(All times Eastern)
(7) Memphis Grizzlies (3-3) at (2) Oklahoma City Thunder (3-3), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies will
play a decisive Game 7 Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena for the right
to move on in the Western Conference playoffs.
"This is Game 7," Kevin Durant said. "And I'm looking forward to it."
Game 7 will be contested without Grizzlies All-Star forward Zach Randolph.
He was suspended one game for punching Oklahoma City's Steven Adams in the jaw
in Game 6.
The Thunder staved off elimination on Thursday with a 104-84 victory in
Memphis at FedExForum.
On the same day The Oklahoman ran a headline which read "Mr. Unreliable,"
Durant made the paper look foolish.
Durant, who is expected to be named the NBA's MVP, scored 36 points and pulled
down 10 rebounds. Durant posted 14 points in the first quarter and finished
with 18 on 7-of-13 efficiency in the first half as Oklahoma City headed into
the break with a healthy 56-41 advantage.
The headline by The Oklahoman was in reference to Durant's recent poor play in
the series. He had been shooting just 40 percent in the series and 15-of-45
over the past two contests before Thursday.
Durant was 11-of-23 from the floor, despite misfiring on all six of his
attempts from beyond the arc, and finished 14-of-15 from the charity stripe
for the second-seeded Thunder, who have not lost a first-round playoff series
Russell Westbrook provided 25 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three
steals, while Reggie Jackson netted 16 points off the bench in the triumph.
"That was 48 minutes of possession-by-possession defensive mentality type-
game," OKC head coach Scott Brooks said. "That's what we wanted to have happen
going into this game. We knew we were playing in a tough place to play against
a very good team.
"That was the only focus for tonight's game, to give your teammate everything
you have and we'll live with the results."
The Thunder are 1-0 in Game 7s since relocating to Oklahoma City. That lone
victory came in 2011 when they dispatched the Grizzlies in the conference
semifinals. That game was in OKC.
The Grizzlies are 0-2 in Game 7s all-time with the Thunder loss and a first-
round exit the following season to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers loss
was in Memphis, but the Grizzlies are on the road for this Game 7. Memphis has
won two games in Oklahoma City this series.
"We've won there before, we believe that we can win there again," said
Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger. "Obviously we need to get off to a quick start
in their building for Game 7."
Marc Gasol tallied 17 points and Randolph added 16 points and eight rebounds
for Memphis, which can still become the second seventh seed to beat a No. 2
seed in a best-of-seven series on Saturday, joining the 2010 San Antonio
Spurs, who beat the Dallas Mavericks.
James Johnson scored 15 points in 18:14 of action and Tony Allen managed 13
Mike Conley only netted five points in less than 28 minutes. He left with a
right hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and his availability for Saturday
"I play on playing," he said after Thursday's loss.
05/03 10:34:20 ET