Oklahoma City Thunder: Defense key in OKC's big Game 4 win

The inspired effort started early on for the Thunder, with amped-up intensity and communication. Memphis was stonewalled in the post and ineffective on the perimeter, scoring 18 points in the first quarter and only 17 in the next two.
by Anthony Slater Modified: April 27, 2014 at 12:07 am •  Published: April 27, 2014

photo - Memphis' Zach Randolph (50) works against Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday, April 26, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
Memphis' Zach Randolph (50) works against Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins (5) during Game 4 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn., Saturday, April 26, 2014. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Perhaps the biggest sign of the Thunder’s defensive dominance shined through in Zach Randolph’s final line. The All-Star big man finished 5-of-14 from the field and sat frustrated on the bench in some of the game’s key moments.

He has struggled throughout the series. But on Saturday, he wasn’t alone.

No Grizzlies player shot 50 percent or better, with Courtney Lee going 3-of-10 and Conley going 5-of-16, including a miss on a potential game-tying three in the final seconds.

And now it’s a toss-up.

OKC heads back home in a lighter mood, with the series tied at two and the general feeling that its two stars won’t struggle as mightily as they did Saturday night.

“Going into the series, we knew every game is going to be a close game the way that they play,” Brooks said. “They want to take a lot of time off the clock. We knew going into the series it was going to be a very difficult series.”

The third overtime was the charm for Oklahoma City on Saturday night, with a huge lift from Jackson and an important performance from the defense.


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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