Oklahoma City Thunder: Memphis takes 3-2 series lead, wins in OT

A slow start and more struggles in the final minute are the reasons the Thunder is now staring at a 3-2 series deficit.
by Darnell Mayberry Published: April 30, 2014

Kevin Durant stood at the free throw line with 27.5 seconds showing and a chance to tie the score with a successful second foul shot.

In these situations, in games of this magnitude, Durant doesn’t miss.

But after throwing him the ball for the second attempt, official Joey Crawford raced in and interrupted Durant just before he went into his patented routine. Crawford strolled over for a conversation with the scorer’s table, stopping Durant’s rhythm and leaving a packed house which already was on pins and needles confused.

When he finally got the ball back, Durant missed.

The scoreboard never moved again.

“It was an awkward situation, I’ll say that,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.

Oklahoma City didn’t drop a 100-99 overtime decision to Memphis in Game 5 on Tuesday night because of officiating. But the last thing Durant needed was Crawford stepping in and disrupting his rhythm after Grizzlies guard Tony Allen did plenty of that for the fourth straight game.

A slow start and more struggles in the final minute are the reasons the Thunder is now staring at a 3-2 series deficit. Oklahoma City clawed back from a surprising 20-point, second-half deficit but, for the third time this series, again saw the game get away in the extra five-minute session.

It’s been the story of the series for the Thunder, which has had trouble closing out games despite being the more experienced team.

Russell Westbrook, who carried OKC with a game-high 30 points, 10 rebounds and 13-assists for his second career postseason triple-double, missed a driving layup with 50.5 seconds left that could have tied the score at 100.

Serge Ibaka, again stellar with 15 points and 12 rebounds, missed a corner 3-pointer with 27.9 seconds remaining. It would have put the Thunder ahead by one.

Durant then missed the free throw. But he didn’t use Crawford as a crutch afterward.

“I was just trying to stay focused and knock the free throw down,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. But I got to make that free throw.”

Crawford, screaming at the scoreboard operator, wanted five fouls to be displayed, an indicator that the Grizzlies were in the bonus.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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