The Oklahoma City Thunder did what they needed to do Saturday night as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies 92-89 in overtime and took home court advantage back for game five of the best-of-seven series on their home court. It was the third straight overtime game in the series, and it was the first time the Thunder were able to come out on top after extra minutes. The NBA Western Conference series is now tied 2-2.
An examination of the numbers for the game shows that it was a game the Thunder should not have won. Scoring was low, the tempo was controlled by the Grizzlies for most of the game, and Oklahoma City’s big two, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, combined for only 30 points on less than 25 percent from the field.
The man who stepped up for the Thunder was their second-year point guard from Boston College, Reggie Jackson. Jackson was 11-for-16 from the field and 2-for-4 from the three-point line in racking up 32 points with nine rebounds. Jackson said his team had a different mindset in this overtime game.”‘[We were] just getting better shots. We got some good looks, we got some shots to go down, we continued to attack the basket.”
Game four played out differently than the previous two. After having to make up big deficits in games two and three, on Saturday it was the Thunder who raced out to big leads through the first three quarters. They could only stand by and watch as the Grizzlies chipped away and finally closed the gap. Oklahoma City led by seven at halftime and by 12 after three. In fact, until the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies had scored less than 20 points in each period. Still, they clawed their way back, and when Tony Allen hit a layup with 3:54 left in regulation, Memphis saw the lead for the first time since the first quarter, 74-73.
The Grizzlies had a great chance to win in regulation on Saturday, building a five-point lead when Marc Gasol hit a jumper with 1:20 to go to give his team an 80-75 lead. It was Reggie Jackson, Mr. April, who tossed in a three-pointer and then a nine-foot jumper with 30 seconds to go to send the game to overtime.
Jackson had eight of the Thunder’s 12 points in overtime—six of them on free throws—as the Oklahoma City Thunder claimed home court advantage back from the Memphis Grizzlies 92-89. It is interesting that the Thunder have been held below their season average in points in every game in the series, but have come up with enough defense to split the four games so far.
After Jackson’s game-high 32, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook each had 15 points for Oklahoma City. Serge Ibaka had a strong night on the boards for the Thunder, pulling down 14 rebounds. For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol had 24 points and Mike Conley chipped in 14. Guard Tony Allen was the surprise leader in rebounds for Memphis with 13.
After re-claiming home court advantage from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahoma City Thunder will get to come back home to Chesapeake Energy Arena for game five next Tuesday night.