Oklahoma City Thunder: Thunder proves it's not going down without a fight

Oh, you can eventually slay the Thunder. It’s happened twice in this rousing Western Conference playoff series, which is tied 2-2. But the Thunder doesn’t go easily. Like the bad guys in B Westerns, if they’re going down, it’s going to take all your bullets.
by Berry Tramel Modified: April 27, 2014 at 8:45 pm •  Published: April 27, 2014

Hard to kill the Thunder.

Like Glenn Close rising out of the bathtub with a knife in “Fatal Attraction.” Like Mike Myers in all 642 “Halloween” horror flicks. Like Batman in “The Dark Knight Rises.”

The left-for-dead Thunder rises with plots you can’t believe but from which you can’t avert your eyes.

Oh, you can eventually slay the Thunder. It’s happened twice in this rousing Western Conference playoff series, which is tied 2-2. But the Thunder doesn’t go easily. Like the bad guys in B Westerns, if they’re going down, it’s going to take all your bullets.

In this grind against the Grizzlies, this series that has exposed far more snares than wares, the Thunder has announced to the world that grit is not the sole property of Memphis. The Thunder has faced deficits of at least four points in the final minute of three straight games. And the Thunder got all three games to overtime.

“We found a way to win, and some nights it’s not going to go our way,” said Kevin Durant. “We just gotta figure it out. It comes down to perseverance and will and heart. All those words that everyone in our locker room has.”

Apparently. In Game 2, the Thunder trailed 98-93 with 20 seconds left. But Durant produced a four-point play while falling out of bounds, then Kendrick Perkins hit a follow shot at the buzzer to force overtime.

In Game 3, Russell Westbrook hit a tying 3-pointer with 52.3 seconds left in regulation, then a tying 4-point play with 26.6 seconds left to again force overtime.

In Game 4, the Thunder trailed 85-80 with a minute left, but Reggie Jackson hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, then made a runner with 30.6 seconds left to tie the game.

The Thunder’s offense wasn’t pristine, even in those critical possessions. But it made just enough shots. Its defense wasn’t perfect. But it made enough stops.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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