Kevin Durant drew a loose ball foul late in overtime and comfortably sank his first free throw. The second one felt automatic. This is Kevin Durant, after all.
He got the ball and prepared to shoot before Joe Crawford stepped in and took the ball from him to correct something on the scoreboard. Durant missed the free throw. Oklahoma City missed its chance and will have to win one more game in Memphis to advance to the second round.
That seems unfathomable.
But it was not like Oklahoma City did not have its chances even after Crawford’s odd gaffe.
Kevin Durant missed a 3-pointer and his shot fell off the back iron to Serge Ibaka. Ibaka’s tip in was a few tenths of a second after the buzzer to give the Grizzlies the one-point lead.
Even before that, Oklahoma City trailed by 20 points at home and slept walk out of the gates. The Thunder were not playing like it was a 2-2 seriesa nd the Grizzlies attacked them. At the end of the third quarter, an 18-4 run made it a game, but the Grizzlies remained in control.
Even down one possession late in the game, the Thunder were blowing their chances with quick shots and ill-timed 3-point attempts. It took Russell Westbrook stealing the ball from Mike Conley at the top of the key with two seconds left just to get the Thunder to overtime.
That was incredibly clutch from Russell who scored 30 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out 13 assists. He hit only 10 of his 31 field goal attempts however. Kevin Durant had 26.
The Grizzlies deserve all the credit for taking this game and controlling the tempo most of the way. Mike Miller came up big in overtime with a couple of big 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 21 points. Memphis has proven itself more than game to defeat Oklahoma City.
Now the Grizzlies are just one game away.