The Oklahoma City Thunder have survived yet another overtime game (their third in the four games so far this series) and a poor shooting night from stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 92-89 and level the best of seven series at two games apiece.
Reserve guard Reggie Jackson saved the day by breaking out of his slump and torching the Memphis Grizzlies on both ends of the floor. He finished the night with 32 points and 9 rebounds and almost single-handedly kept the Thunder’s post season alive.
Heading into this game, it was make or break time for the Oklahoma City Thunder. After a Game 1 win, they hadn’t been able to defeat the Grizzlies in the next two tries and momentum was firmly with Memphis. By breaking the Grizzlies 15 game home win streak and leveling the series, the Thunder have now brought the matchup back to a level playing field and now have made it a “best of 3″ series, with 2 games of the 3 at Chesapeake Arena.
In a tightly contested encounter, the Thunder were unable to curtail the influence of Marc Gasol who was bullying them inside and with his mid-range jumpshot. After the half time break though, the Thunder managed to limit their turnovers and make some shots on their way to a game high 14 point lead and it looked as though they might be able to run away with it. However, Memphis in true Grizzlies style, forced their way back into the game with their trademark grit and even took the lead in the dying minutes of the game.
Both Mike Conley and Reggie Jackson missed game winning attempts in regulation and the game was headed to overtime – nothing new to these teams, especially in this series.
The Thunder finished the stronger of the two and a couple of Kevin Durant free throws sealed the deal and evened the series.
Reggie Jackson though was clearly the MVP of this game. He shot a remarkable 11-16 from the floor and continued to be aggressive and attack the rim. He also did a solid job of limiting the influence of Conley and allowed nothing easy at the basket. Serge Ibaka chimed in with 12 points, 14 rebounds and 5 blocks.
Kevin Durant scored just 15 points on 5-21 shooting and Westbrook had 15pts on 6-24 shooting .
Both stars struggled with their shot but were still able to influence the game by spacing the floor, allowing Jackson to take control of the game. Durant added 13 rebounds and 4 assists while Westbrook had 9 boards and 7 dimes.
The Thunder are back at home to take on the Grizzlies in Game 5 of this series. They won’t be relying on another playoff career night from Jackson, but will try to take a 3-2 series lead. While Durant and Westbrook should bounce back, it was pleasing to see Jackson break out of his slump and find some form – just at the right time.
Tags: Oklahoma City Thunder