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Thunder take Game 1 from Grizzlies thanks to late jumper from Kevin Durant (VIDEO)

May 5, 2013, 4:24 PM EDT

Kevin Durant hit a pull-up jumper with 11.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter to help send the Thunder to a 93-91 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Durant took control of things in the fourth quarter, where he scored 12 of his game high 35 points.

This was a great win for the Thunder, but it was a lost opportunity for the Grizzlies more than anything else. Memphis built a third quarter lead of as many as 12 points, and led by seven points midway through the fourth. But Durant closed the game by personally outscoring the Grizzlies 10-7 the rest of the way, while the Thunder finished on a 16-7 run to seal the victory.

Oklahoma City did a lot of things well in Game 1, and undoubtedly gained some confidence against a Grizzlies team many expected to win this series before it started. Kendrick Perkins was excellent defensively against Marc Gasol inside, particularly in the second half. Kevin Martin provided a much needed scoring boost for the Thunder for the second straight game, pouring in 25 points off the bench, 23 of which came in the game’s first three quarters.

The Thunder won the rebounding battle thanks to 15 from Durant, and seven each from Perkins and Martin to offset the 10 the Grizzlies got from both Gasol and Zach Randolph. Oklahoma City successfully packed the paint and limited the Grizzlies’ two biggest weapons inside, and as Memphis kicked it out to try to find open looks, they ended up shooting an uncharacteristically high 19 times from three-point distance, while connecting on just seven of those attempts.

The Grizzlies are going to need to win on the road in this series if they are to win it, and Game 1 had all the makings of an upset. Memphis had its chances, and even led late. They’ll need a stronger performance from Mike Conley moving forward, who finished just 5-of-15 from the field in this one, and (along with Randolph) has been the reason for the Grizzlies’ success to this point in the postseason.

But they can’t allow the game to be this close down the stretch. Because as he did in this one, Durant will simply take matters into his own hands and make sure his team ends up on the winning side.

  1. melkipershero - May 5, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Awesome game. I really hope this goes 7. Love how my Grizz played, but when Durant shoots I just expect it to be money.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - May 5, 2013 at 4:36 PM

      Did Conley simply get stripped by Fisher, or was that a foul on a reach in?

      • melkipershero - May 5, 2013 at 4:58 PM

        I like the fact that at the end of the game those calls are not called. Let the players decide the game. I felt like it wasn’t obvious so it was alright with me. Pondexter did get fouled and was called correctly. When I saw the look on his face when he stepped up to the line I knew he’d miss. Great game and will be an awesome series.

    • 00maltliquor - May 5, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      @ melkipershero

      I like your attitude. I know if I was a MEM fan (I was actually rooting for them hard) I’d be PISSED right about now! MEM controlled the whole game pretty much, and then that last minute Durant happened.

      Yeah, the guys money. I’d go as far as saying he’s the most clutch player in the league right now. Seems like EVERY time I see OKC down in that position, freakin KD ALWAYS sinks ’em with the greatest of ease.

      Very good game though. Was super happy I got to catch the whole thing and finally have a day off (happy Cinco de Mayo!). MEM choked on those last few possessions plus OKC put on the D heavy. Don’t know why Conley didn’t take that last 3 instead of Pondexter, but it is what it is.

      • melkipershero - May 5, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Above all I try to stay positive. Losing a tight game in OKC is nothing to get mad about. We have to get ZBo more touches in crunch time. Pondexter was shooting the 3 great today. Hope the series games are all like this.

    • fanofevilempire - May 5, 2013 at 7:56 PM

      I was stuck watching this game while the knickerbockers were
      playing Indy in nyc and I’m in Brooklyn, wtf abc7.

      can I get my msg peeps, please, I hate abc7!

  2. eventhorizon04 - May 5, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    This is going to be a great series with terrific individual matchups to watch.

    As expected, the Grizzlies were locked into limiting Durant, but OKC did a great job of moving without the ball to exploit all the Grizzly eyes on Durant on every play.

    Durant is going to get his 30+ points, but whether or not the Grizzlies manage to shut down OKC’s supporting cast will determine who goes on to the Western Conference Finals. Kevin Martin was huge today and beat defenders off screens and with backdoor cuts.

    I expect close games throughout, with late-game execution making the difference every game. This time, OKC outplayed Memphis down the stretch, but we’ll see how it goes in the future.

  3. mungman69 - May 5, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    Memphis must be kicking themselves over this game.

  4. raysfan1 - May 5, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    I was at this one. It felt like the Grizzlies were in control most of the way, but they could never put enough distance between themselves and the Thunder. Ibaka was off his game offensively. Reggie Jackson had timely scores though to supplement KD and Martin. It also helped the Thunder that the Grizzlies had some key missed free throws. Real glad the Thunder ultimately found a way to win. Thunder up!

    • 00maltliquor - May 5, 2013 at 7:20 PM

      Wow, what a treat on a Sunday morning/afternoon.That outcome probably made your week!

      • raysfan1 - May 5, 2013 at 9:51 PM

        Yep. It was also great having the game early enough that I could take my kids.

  5. patfic15 - May 5, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Gonna be a good series. Memphis could take it, but I’m an OKC fan. Excited to see Jackson coming into his own. Martin looked good again and KD is KD. I need Perkins to stop taking that awkward a$% jump shot that he misses every time and Ibalka…you had a horrible game. Play like a big, you’re not Dirk!

  6. mungman69 - May 5, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Memphis should come out smokin in game 2. They’d better cause they don’t want to go down 2-0.

  7. themagicfanguy - May 5, 2013 at 8:22 PM

    It’s pretty ridiculous how effortless Durant makes it look sometimes. Glide down the court, nothing but net in transition.

  8. rickyspanish - May 5, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    This series can easily go for seven games. Scott Brooks needs to get Perkins off the floor, Gasol ruined him.

  9. timb12 - May 6, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    As a Thunder fan, you have to feel so much better with Durant taking that mid range jumper in transition than Westbrook. KD is just money. Great shot.

    • bamabob - May 6, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      I’d rather have KD shooting anything but Russ can (and has) knock it down in that situation also.

      People don’t understand how good of a shot that was. Full speed, stop on a dime, pull up under control and don’t overshoot it. More often than not in those situations guys are too amped up and it goes off the back of the rim. Under those circumstances it was a GREAT shot.

  10. hollymeus - May 6, 2013 at 1:18 AM

    okc in 4

  11. philadelphiafan - May 6, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Grizzlies will be representing the Western conference in the Finals this year.

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