In the closing moments, with the game still up in the air, Reggie Jackson made a pair of overaggressive and costly fouls. First, with the game tied at 81 and less than two minutes left, Jackson barreled down the lane and into Mike Conley, who drew a charge. Moments later, after Marc Gasol cashed in two free throws on the ensuing possession, Kevin Durant missed a jumper and an overzealous Jackson fouled Conley in this backcourt. Conley dropped in both free throws, putting Memphis comfortably up by four with 55 seconds left.
It was over when…
…the normally cool-under-pressure Kevin Durant, a 91 percent free-throw shooter, clanged two consecutive freebies on the next possession. They were enormous and uncharacteristic misses for Durant, who once again looked fatigued during the closing stages of another game where he was forced to shoulder an unhealthy burden of the offensive load. He played 46 minutes and went 3/11 shooting in the second half.
Star of the game – Marc Gasol
Gasol was good but not great on offense, finishing with 20 points and nine rebounds on an inefficient 6-of-14 shooting. But in truth, it was Memphis’ defense that won this game. And like always, Gasol anchored the backline, blocking a pair of shots, disrupting a few more and discouraging Thunder players from even entering the paint at times.
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