The overtime was more drama, with bit actor Mike Miller making an appearance. The veteran sharpshooter hit the Grizzlies’ first two baskets of the overtime, threes that were reminiscent of his big spot duty in the NBA Finals when he was with the Heat a few years back.
But the Thunder battled back and looked ready to tie the game again with Durant at the line. After hitting the first of two free throws, he held the ball in his hands for the second free throw when referee Joey Crawford charged up the lane and demanded the ball back.
“I looked at KD and we were like, ‘What is Joey doing?’” Conley said.
Crawford wanted the scoreboard operator to make sure the proper number of team fouls were on the scoreboard. It’s a small thing, something he could’ve fixed later but something that he had every right within the rules to stop and rectify, but it will certainly add to Thunder fans’ disdain for the cue-ball headed Crawford.
He iced Durant.
“I was just trying to stay focus and knock the free throw down,” Durant said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t.”
But after a Memphis miss, OKC had one more shot. Durant clanked a three, but Serge Ibaka got a hand on the miss and tipped it back toward the basket. The ball fell through the hoop as the buzzer sounded. The Thunder mobbed Ibaka, and The Peake erupted.
The officials reviewed it and quickly determined that the ball was still touching Ibaka’s finger tips when the light around the backboard went on.
“They’re doing training on our coaching staff right now, too, because we’re all sweating through” dress shirts and suit jackets, Memphis coach Dave Joerger said.
I’m sure there have been better playoff series in the history of the NBA. All those years that the Celtics and Lakers battled, then all those years that the Bulls duked it out with the Pistons and the Knicks, there had to have been a series like this.
But there couldn’t have been one any better.
Episode 6 of this must-see-TV drama is Thursday in Memphis.
Don’t miss it.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.