For a moment there, it looked like the Thunder would win this one in a walk a rather fast walk, since the Grizzlies are fond of a slowish pace. They reckoned without Mike Miller, who knocked down all of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, nearly erasing the OKC lead; Serge Ibaka tossed in two free throws literally in the last second to seal the deal, 113-107, winning the season series three games to one.
Still, the Griz were scary in that final frame, hitting their first nine shots and ultimately scoring 36 points, all from the Memphis bench. (See Mike Miller, supra.) Memphis hit 51 percent for the night and knocked down 10 of 16 treys. (Miller had four of them.) Memphis had six players in double figures, led by, um, Mike Miller, evidently a valuable guy to have around when neither Zach Randolph (5-14, 13 points, 10 rebounds) or Mike Conley (1-10, six points, nine assists) is having a banner evening.
Defensive shuffles are the order of the day for OKC, with Kendrick Perkins out and Thabo Sefolosha lost early to a strain. This explains why Hasheem Thabeet played 17 minutes: he got four rebounds, three fouls and two points, but mostly he kept the Griz out of the paint. Kevin Durant played 43 minutes and garnered 37 points and 10 rebounds; Reggie Jackson played 34 minutes, mostly out of having to sub for Thabo, and picked up 14. The rehabilitation of Russell Westbrook seems to be complete: in just under half an hour he scored 21 points, delivered six assists, and turned the ball over only once. And despite the presence of Large Memphians, the Thunder outrebounded the Griz 39-33.
The Bobcats, who came this close to knocking off the Spurs tonight, will be in OKC on Sunday. Keep in mind that 27-31 is about a seventh seed in the East.