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
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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

Reggie Jackson was the savior. But defense keyed the Thunder’s win on Saturday night in Memphis.

It’s tough to win a game when Kevin Durant goes 5-of-21 shooting.

It’s even tougher when his running mate, Russell Westbrook, also fires up an inefficient 6-of-24 line.

But it’s made a whole lot easier when the Grizzlies are held to 52 points in the first three quarters, 80 in regulation and 89 in an overtime game.

Thunder 92, Grizzlies 89, and a knotted up series heading back to Oklahoma City thanks to Jackson’s career-high 32 points and a huge lift from the defense.

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.

“That’s a direct result from maximum effort on the defensive end,” Scott Brooks said of the win.

The floodgates opened a bit in the fourth, with Memphis outscoring the Thunder 28-16 to tie it up. Mike Conley and the Grizzlies perimeter players started to find seems and create plays, but the Thunder shored up those issues enough to secure an overtime win.

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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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