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Oklahoma City Thunder: OKC's season in serious jeopardy after Game 4 loss

Down 3-1 in the best-of-7 series, Oklahoma City is coming home for Game 5 in survival mode.
by Berry Tramel Modified: May 14, 2013 at 1:13 am •  Published: May 14, 2013

Play typical defense in this series, when both teams are having trouble scoring, and the Grizzlies would have been hard-pressed to get back in this one.

Memphis shot just 40.4 percent from the field for the game. But in those 16 minutes, the Grizzlies made 16 of 26 shots.

By third quarter's end, Memphis had caught the Thunder, and it was back to the grit-and-grind basketball that has defined this series and at which Memphis excels.

Ibaka was superb much of the game; he had 13 points and 10 rebounds in the first half alone and found his shooting touch, which had disappeared. Martin was good, too.

But Memphis doesn't let any offense look good for long.

So at crunch time, expecting to deliver winning offense is dicey.

In this same situation two years ago — down 2-1 at Memphis in the West semifinals — the Thunder won an epic three-overtime game.

But Durant that night had help from names that now are gone. James Harden, gone to Houston, and Russell Westbrook, gone to injury.

This Thunder team, at least against Memphis, can't rely on offensive heroics to win. It must win with defense.

And the defense disappeared for too long in Game 4, and now the Thunder season is in serious jeopardy.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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