NBA: Thunder oust Grizzlies to advance in playoffs | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Thunder oust Grizzlies to advance in playoffs

/ 10:45 AM May 16, 2011

OKLAHOMA CITY – NBA season scoring champion Kevin Durant poured in 39 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder past Memphis 105-90 and into the Western Conference playoff final.

The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies four games to three in the best-of-seven second round series and advanced into the league semi-finals against the Dallas Mavericks, who will host game one on Tuesday.

“I was so upset with myself for letting my guys down by not playing my game (game six),” said Durant who had just 11 points in a Friday loss. “I wasn’t aggressive at all.

“But I stayed with it. I was just positive and confident and kept the faith in the things that got me here.”


Russell Westbrook added 14 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which has the youngest team in the playoffs with an average age of 25.4 years per player. It was the first playoff triple-double for Westbrook.

“He has been doing this for us all year. Why stop now?” Durant said of Westbrook.

Durant scored 18 points in the first half to give the Thunder a 42-34 lead at half-time. Memphis pulled within three points late in the third period before the Thunder pulled away for good.

“This was a physical series,” Durant said. “They relied on their big fellows. That helped us a lot (preparing for Dallas). We’re excited to play the next series.”


“No matter if I was shooting 10-for-30, I was going to be aggressive. My teammates did a great job getting me the ball and I was able to get some good shots.”

James Harden added 17 points for Oklahoma city while Nick Collison grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds for the Thunder.


Mike Conley led Memphis with 18 points while Zach Randolph added 17 points and 10 rebounds and O.J. Mayo contributed 14 points for the Grizzlies.

Westbrook equalled his season high with 14 assists. It was his first post-season triple double and just the fifth in a playoff game seven, behind Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Jerry West and James Worthy.

“I think as long as we continue to stay humble and continue to work and try to get better, this team’s going to make that next jump,” he said.

Said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, “He gets picked on a little bit, but one of the things (with) Russell, he keeps playing.

“He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and tonight he controlled the game.”

The Grizzlies are not going to hang their heads in defeat. The former NBA doormat franchise knocked off top-seeded San Antonio in the opening round to win their first ever playoff series.

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“That team is going to be good for a long time,” said Brooks. “Going into this series, we knew it was going to be a tough challenge for us. But we were up for that challenge. Our guys kept believing.”

TAGS: Basketball, National Basketball Association (North American Professional)

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