Durant, Thunder edge Grizzlies in 2nd round opener
Kevin Durant scored 12 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter Sunday as Oklahoma City rallied for a 93-91 win over Memphis in game one of their second round NBA Western Conference playoff series.
Durant delivered the Thunder's final three baskets from the floor, including a go-ahead jump shot with 11.1 seconds remaining that gave Oklahoma City a 91-90 lead.
Oklahoma City's Derek Fisher had stolen the ball from the Grizzlies' Mike Conley to give Durant the chance.
"We made a good defensive play," Durant said of the sequence. "They have such a great team defense, I just wanted to get up as quick as possible and find a shot. That was the only shot I could find.
"My teammates did a great job of setting me up all game," Durant added. "I missed some easy ones ... I was able to hit that one."
Reggie Jackson made two free throws to stretch the lead to 93-90 with 2.9 seconds left.
But Jackson then fouled Quincy Pondexter as he attempted a three-pointer, giving Pondexter a chance to tie it from the free-throw line.
Pondexter missed the first of his three foul shots, with less than two seconds to play.
"I told Reggie when he made those free throws, 'We have got to get a stop. You hitting two free throws, it's all good and congratulations -- but we've got to get a stop right here,'" Durant said.
"And it kind of went in our favor. We fouled them with a three and they missed a free throw."
Oklahoma City will host game two of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.
The Thunder trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, but Durant -- second to Miami's LeBron James in the Most Valuable Player voting announced on Sunday -- kept them in it, finishing with game highs in points and in rebounds with 15 and assists with six.
Kevin Martin came off the bench to score 25 points for the second straight game, after helping the Thunder oust the Houston Rockets in game six of their first-round series.
Jackson finished with 12 points on four-of-eight shooting from the field.
Memphis, who won four straight games to climb out of an 0-2 hole and eliminate the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round, had double-doubles from Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Spain's Gasol, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds -- but committed a costly turnover just after Durant had put the Thunder ahead with 11.1 seconds left.
Randolph scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Both teams were playing on short rest, after wrapping up their first-round series on Friday. The Thunder had to do it on the road in Houston, while Memphis polished off the Clippers at home.
Neither team shot the ball well. Memphis hit 42.7 percent and Oklahoma City was a bit worse at 41.3 percent, but the Grizzlies connected on just 6-of-18 in the fourth quarter.
"Nice to get the first win, our guys did a lot of good things out there. I'm proud of our effort, we came in and battled," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "Our defensive disposition was where it needed to be going into the fourth quarter. You have to earn every inch of the court. That's what this series is going to be about."
The second Western Conference second-round series starts on Monday, when the San Antonio Spurs host the Golden State Warriors.