MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Thunder offense collapsed late. But this time, it had company. The Thunder defense collapsed earlier, and now the Thunder is on the verge of collapse.
In a game that NBA history says the Thunder had to have, the Boomers squandered a 17-point second-quarter lead, a 12-point third-quarter lead and lost 103-97 in overtime Monday night to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Griz now lead this Western Conference semifinal series three games to one. Only eight of 194 teams that have been down 3-1 have advanced.
But this series seemed headed back to Oklahoma City 2-2. The Thunder offense finally was clicking — welcome back, Serge Ibaka; nice going, Kevin Martin — and the Grizzlies aren't exactly the Houston Rockets when it comes to comebacks.
But after Kevin Durant's 3-pointer gave the Thunder a 46-29 lead with 4:26 left in the second quarter, the Grizzlies suddenly started scoring like the '62 Celtics.
Memphis scored 19 points on its last nine possessions of the second quarter, and halftime proved no salve.
On its first 20 possessions of the third quarter, the Grizzlies scored 28 points. So that was a string of 47 points in 29 possessions.
Memphis got going with foul shots, then started making baskets. In those 16 minutes, Marc Gasol scored 15 points.
Scotty Brooks tried all kinds of things — he started Serge Ibaka on Gasol, shifting Kendrick Perkins over to Zach Randolph; Brooks also used a small lineup a good portion of the game — and the Thunder defense was solid for most of the game.
But those 16 minutes felled the Thunder.