MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Short-handed and now precariously short on time, the Oklahoma City Thunder returned home via charter flight early Tuesday on the brink of elimination.
The Memphis Grizzlies posted a 103-97 overtime victory over the Thunder in Game 4 late Monday to take a commanding 3-1 lead in this Western Conference semifinal.
Game 5 is Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena. If the Thunder wins, Game 6 would be in Memphis on Friday. If a Game 7 is necessary, it would be Sunday at The Peake.
One more loss in the best-of-7 series and OKC's season will come to a premature end. The defending conference champion Thunder finished the regular season with 60 victories and as the top seed in the West.
OKC was the odds-on favorite to return to the NBA Finals when the playoffs began, but all that changed when three-time All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook underwent season-ending knee surgery on April 27.
At the time, the Thunder owned a 2-0 lead against the Houston Rockets in the opening round. Since then, OKC has gone just 3-5 with three straight losses to the Grizzlies.
Entering Monday game, the Thunder had averaged 89.0 points while shooting just 39.9 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from 3-point range, well below their high-ranking regular-season averages of 105.7 points, 48.5 percent and 37.0 percent.
Game 4 wasn't half-bad as OKC shot 53.8 percent in the first half to take a 56-48 lead at intermission.
As has been the case much of the series, the Thunder faltered in the second half, shooting just 37.5 percent from the floor.
Memphis outscored OKC 9-3 in overtime as the Thunder shot just 1 for 8 from the field with Kevin Durant going 0 for 5.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol swished a 15-footer with 22.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Grizzlies a 100-97 lead.
Memphis guard and former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen essentially sealed the win by stealing the ensuing inbound pass from Derek Fisher. Gasol added another free throw with 20.8 seconds left.