Thunder beat Grizzlies in OT, tie up series
Reggie Jackson came off the bench and outscored teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook by himself. The Oklahoma City Thunder needed every point from their top reserve to win yet another overtime game against Memphis.
Jackson scored a personal playoff-best 32 points, and the Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 92-89 Saturday night, tying up their first-round Western Conference series at two apiece.
"Reggie played an outstanding basketball game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He was able to attack and finish around the rim like he’s done all year, and I knew he would bounce back … He’s done a great job of coming in and giving us that lift offensively when we needed it as a sixth man."
The Thunder sure needed him to avoid going back home in a 3-1 hole after three straight overtime games.
Jackson had only scored 15 points combined in this series, but the guard shook off his shooting woes by hitting 11 of 16. Durant and Russell Westbrook, who struggled through their worst scoring game of the series with a combined 11 of 45 and 15 points apiece.
The Thunder blew a 14-point lead with Memphis, and the Grizzlies blew a third straight fourth-quarter lead themselves. Jackson tied up Memphis with five straight points in the final minute of regulation, and he hit all six free throws in overtime as the Thunder survived an extra period with seven lead changes.
"They’re running plays for him with Durant and Westbrooks spaced out," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "If you’re going down, my hat’s off to them, both guys did a great job, and Reggie Jackson did a great job just being in attack mode."
Durant’s two free throws with 1:02 left in overtime put the Thunder ahead to stay.
Game 5 is Tuesday night back in Oklahoma City.
Mike Conley missed a 26-footer just before the buzzer that could have forced a second extra period. Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka also blocked a Tony Allen shot with 2.7 seconds left in regulation to keep the Thunder alive for overtime.
The Thunder won for only the second time in seven playoff games in Memphis, and this was just their second in eight overtimes with the Grizzlies since the start of the 2010-11 season. Oklahoma City also snapped Memphis’ franchise-record 15-game winning streak.
Ibaka added 12 points for Oklahoma City. The Thunder outrebounded Memphis 58-49 and got 12 offensive rebounds in the fourth quarter and overtime combined.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Allen had 14 points and 13 rebounds, Conley had 14 points and Zach Randolph added 11.
Gasol said he expects the Grizzlies will be more aggressive with Jackson in the next game. But he also noted they have to do better against the likes of Ibaka and Caron Butler.
"Those are the guys that are going to be the difference in the series," Gasol said.
The Grizzlies blew a fourth-quarter lead for a third straight game. They last led 87-86 after Conley hit a step-back jumper. Then Duran hit two free throws with 1:02 left to put the Thunder ahead to stay, and Jackson sealed it with four free throws in the final 12.2 seconds.
With NBA commissioner Adam Silver and former Oklahoma and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer on hand, the Thunder got back to passing the ball and shooting better with the exception of Durant and Westbrook.
Oklahoma City took its biggest lead of the game at 64-50 on a layup by Durant with 26.3 seconds left in the third. Then the Grizzlies put together their best stretch with a 15-5 spurt with Memphis coach Dave Joerger going with a small group of shooters including Mike Miller, Beno Udrih and Conley.
Miller hit a 3-pointer that brought fans to their feet, and Allen’s layup off his own miss with 3:55 gave the Grizzlies their first lead since 20-18 early in the second quarter. But they couldn’t hold the lead on a day where former owner Michael Heisley died at the age of 77.
After Allen and Gasol hit jumpers pushing Memphis’ lead to 80-75, Jackson hit a 3 and then drove the lane to tie it up at 80 with 30.6 seconds to go.
Notes: Derek Fisher played in his 244th career playoff game, tying him with Robert Horry for most postseason appearances in NBA history. … Heisley was remembered with a moment of silence before tipoff. … Oklahoma City last won a playoff game in Memphis on May 9, 2011 needing three overtimes. That also was Game 4, and the Thunder won that semifinal series in seven.