The Thunder went on to lose Games 2 and 3. Finally prevailed in Game 4. Who knows if the Thunder offense will snap out of the doldrums that have created three straight sub-.400 shooting percentages? Who knows if the Thunder can keep holding Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to more shots (144) than points (142)?
But this we know, beyond any doubt. The won’t-quit, won’t-sit true-grit Thunder fight to the end.
“They are fighting,” said Memphis point guard Mike Conley. “We have to do the same going back to Oklahoma City."
Some would like the Thunder to play with a sense of urgency before the situation is urgent. But isn’t that counter intuitive? The Thunder hasn’t reached overtime by playing well. The Thunder has reached overtime by playing desperate. Playing desperate is no way to conduct business in the second quarter.
The entire Northern Hemisphere thinks the Thunder is shooting too many 3-point shots, yet 3-pointers in each of those final 60-second sets is what gave OKC life. One by Durant, one (or two) by Westbrook, one by Jackson.
They either believed in their ability to overcome abysmal shooting nights (Westbrook) or kept their poise in the face of frenzy (Durant) or were willing to step into the spotlight and risk the burden of failure (Jackson).
This series has stolen the confidence of even the most lion-hearted players. Yet when things look darkest, the Thunder has swiped it back. The Boomers have gone down, but they haven’t gone down easily. No reason to believe they ever will.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.