Oklahoma City wins series 4-3 (Game 7 of 7)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, April 19th
Game 2: Monday, April 21st
Game 3: Thursday, April 24th
Game 4: Saturday, April 26th
Game 5: Tuesday, April 29th
Game 6: Thursday, May 1st
Game 7: Saturday, May 3rd

Grizzlies 109

(50-32, 23-18 away)

Thunder 120

(59-23, 34-7 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:00 PM ET, May 3, 2014

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 36 22 23 28109
    OKC 27 34 33 26120

    Top Performers

    Mem: M. Conley 20 Pts, 5 Reb, 9 Ast, 4 Stl

    Okc: R. Westbrook 27 Pts, 10 Reb, 16 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Grizzlies-Thunder Preview

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Memphis Grizzlies might have all summer to think about their dismal effort Thursday night.

    The Grizzlies could have closed out the Thunder at home, but Oklahoma City jumped on them from the start and rolled to a 20-point victory. Now, Memphis must play Game 7 on the road Saturday without scoring leader Zach Randolph and possibly point guard Mike Conley.

    Randolph was suspended for punching Steven Adams in the jaw late in Game 6. The Grizzlies had no comment on the NBA's decision after landing in Oklahoma City.

    Conley strained his right hamstring in the loss and is struggling to recover. Memphis' backup point guard, Nick Calathes, is out for the series because of a drug suspension, meaning No. 3 point guard Beno Udrih will likely carry more responsibility against Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson, two of the quickest point guards in the NBA.

    Conley said Friday that he plans to play, but he expects to be sore.

    "Me being banged up, you're going to have to ask more out of different guys, see a lot of guys step up," he said. "We're still excited and confident going into tomorrow's game, regardless of injuries and how last night's game went."

    Memphis coach Dave Joerger's team has dealt with injuries and lineup changes all season. Tony Allen missed 27 games this season, Marc Gasol 23 and Conley nine. Kosta Koufos and Ed Davis will likely fill Randolph's minutes.

    "This is it," Joerger said. "Whatever you want to say about the season, it's all come down to one game. Certainly, for us to have the best chance to win, we have to play better than we did last night."

    Even with the issues the Grizzlies face, nothing has been certain in this matchup. The home team has won just twice in a series that has featured four overtime games.

    Thunder star Kevin Durant said Game 7 is like playing in the NCAA tournament.

    "You don't have no other option but to win," he said. "You can't get the game back. It's Game 7. You have to be ready to go."

    The teams have met in the playoffs three of the past four years. Oklahoma City beat Memphis in seven games in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals.

    "I remember the feeling afterward, and I don't want to repeat that," Gasol said.

    If the Grizzlies can't control Westbrook, a repeat is possible. Westbrook, who at times has played recklessly in the series, scored an efficient 25 points on Thursday and engineered an offense that shot 49 percent. His willingness to set up his teammates helped Durant score 14 points in the first quarter.

    "He was really mindful of looking for guys and finding guys early, picking and choosing his spots well," Durant said.

    Durant bounced back from his recent struggles with 36 points and 10 rebounds in Game 6. He made 6 of 10 shots in the first quarter Thursday night to set the tone and went 11 for 23 from the field.

    "Kevin just came out with a different kind of assertiveness last game," Oklahoma City guard Caron Butler said. "He was just real precise and he was vocal."

    The Grizzlies said they can't allow Durant to get going like that again or their season might be over.

    "We have to be better at finding him," Allen said. "We understand what he wants to do. We've just got to be the aggressors on the defensive end. We understand coming into this series, he's going to be an MVP-type player, and we just have to be ready."

    Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who rarely makes lineup changes, started Butler at shooting guard over Thabo Sefolosha in Game 6. Butler, a better offensive threat than Sefolosha, helped space the floor and opened lanes for Durant and Westbrook. Brooks said Butler will remain in the starting lineup for Saturday's game.

    Brooks also played Adams more than usual in Game 6, and he responded with five blocks in 21 minutes on Thursday. Brooks said Adams earned the increase in playing time with his hard work in practice and his improvement throughout the season.

    The game could come down to tempo. In Games 1 and 6, the two matchups with a quicker pace, the Thunder won by double digits. Memphis turned the other four games into slower-paced, grind-it-out overtime battles and won three of them.

    "It makes for great storylines, but it comes down to playing good basketball," Brooks said. "Executing on both ends, making shots along the way, just continuing to play together and understanding that there's going to be some runs by either team that you have to stay focused and stay together through, and just being committed to what we want to do each possession."


    AP Sports Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tennessee, contributed to this report.


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    Research Notes

    Zach Randolph has averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds in 18 career postseason games against the Thunder, and had reached 20 points in all 3 games in Oklahoma City in this year's playoffs.
    FROM ELIAS: Zach Randolph is the first player ever to miss Game 7 of a series for any reason after leading his team in scoring in the series while playing in each of the first 6 games.
    The Grizzlies will miss having Randolph around the rim, where he works quite effectively. According to player tracking on, Zach Randolph is averaging 7.5 PPG on touches that originate within 12 feet (excluding drives) in the playoffs, trailing only Tim Duncan. These are defined as "close shots."
    Russell Westbrook joins Rajon Rondo as the only players in NBA history with 2 Game 7 triple-doubles.
    Durant was 2-of-2 on pull-up three point shots in Game 7; he was 2-for-17 (12%) on such shots in Games 1-6.
    Durant was 6-of-6 for 16 points on catch-and-shoot shots in Game 7; he was 6-for-28 (21%) for 27 points in Games 3-6.
    Eight of Durant's field goals came on assists by Russell Westbrook. Westbrook had assisted on 16 of Durant's made field goals through Games 1-6 (2.7 per game).
    Kevin Durant scored 27 points on shots at least 15 feet away from the basket in Game 7, including 25 through the first three quarters, tied for a career high from that distance. He also had 27 points from 15 feet and out on March 21, 2014 against the Raptors and April 6, 2010 against the Jazz.
    Russell Westbrook has played in two Game 7s in his career, both against the Grizzlies. Both times, he posted triple-doubles. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other player with multiple Game 7 triple-doubles is Rajon Rondo.
    Durant was 6-of-7 (86%) for 14 points with Tony Allen as his primary defender; he shot 35% with Allen guarding him in Games 1-6.
    The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies by 45 points with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the court together in Games 6 and 7 as the duo stepped up their play. In the first 5 games of the series Oklahoma City outscored Memphis by 11 points with them on the floor together.
    Kevin Durant has started strong in each of the last 2 games against the Grizzlies after coming out flat in Games 2-5.
    Russell Westbrook had a playoff career high 16 assists Saturday, 8 of which were to Kevin Durant. Before tonight, Westbrook only averaged 2.7 assists per game to Durant in the series (3.2 APG to Durant during Regular Season).

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