The Oklahoma City Thunder didn't go down without a fight.
With Kevin Durant struggling, several players in foul trouble and Memphis once again controlling things inside, the Thunder somehow found themselves with a shot to tie or win in the end.
But Durant's 16-foot shot in the final seconds was off the mark and the Grizzlies held on for an 88-84 win in front of 18,203 at Chesapeake Energy Arena to take the series 4-1.
With the Thunder down 12 with three minutes left, plenty of fans streamed toward the exits.
But Reggie Jackson's 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds left pulled the Thunder within two and Zach Randolph's missed free throws on the other end gave OKC one more chance to pull off the win.
But Durant's shot in the final seconds — like so many of his others in the game — was off the mark and Memphis held on for the win.
“KD did a good job of getting open and catching the ball,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He had a great look. That's the shot we wanted.”
As the teams shook hands following the final buzzer, the remaining fans kicked up the chant of “O-K-C” for one final time this season.
Durant had his worst shooting night of the season, going 5 of 21 from the floor and finishing with 21 points.
“I gave it all I had for my team,” Durant said. “I left it all out on the floor.”
Durant seemed to wear down in the second half of Game 4 and his struggles continued early in Game 5. He missed seven of his eight first-quarter shots and never found an offensive rhythm.
He played all 48 minutes, but neither Durant nor Brooks blamed the off night on Durant wearing down.
Memphis coach Lionel Hollins thought Durant got tired, though.
“Even when he was open he was missing shots that he normally makes,” Hollins said.
The Thunder struggled after losing All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook to injury in Game 2 of the first-round series against Houston.
After grinding its way through that series, the Thunder played Memphis close but lost four consecutive games to end the season in the second round a year after advancing to the NBA Finals.
“I have peace going through this run,” Durant said. “We really had to come together. We've really seen us grow as a group. The only way it would be frustrating is if we came in with an attitude because Russ was out and we didn't do that.”
The Thunder built a lead early, then saw it slip away with a 15-point second quarter.
Memphis led by as many as 14 in the third quarter before a wild play gave the Thunder a push.
A T-shirt thrown by Tony Allen seemed to breathe life into the Thunder midway through the third quarter but the boost was short-lived.
Allen was called for unsportsmanlike conduct from the bench after the shirt escaped his hand and landed at Derek Fisher's feet while Fisher missed a 3-pointer with about five minutes to go in the third.
Fisher was awarded the 3-pointer, and Durant hit the technical free throw to pull the Thunder within seven and fuel a streak that put the Thunder within two entering the third.
But the Thunder hit just 1 of 8 shots to start the fourth and Memphis stretched the lead back to double digits by the midpoint of the fourth before the Thunder made their final push.