Thunder-Grizzlies: Game 5 was one for those who say TV dramas are dead

COMMENTARY — Memphis’ 100-99 victory in Game 5 drove home the point that the Thunder-Grizzlies series is the greatest drama of the postseason so far.
by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 30, 2014 at 10:47 am •  Published: April 30, 2014


photo - Memphis' Mike Miller (13) signals for no basket as Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9), Reggie Jackson (15) and Thabo Sefolosha (25) celebrate a possible game-wining shot by Ibaka at the end of overtime near Memphis' Tayshaun Prince (21) during Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Instant replay showed Ibaka's shot came after the buzzer. Memphis won 100-99 in overtime. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Memphis' Mike Miller (13) signals for no basket as Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9), Reggie Jackson (15) and Thabo Sefolosha (25) celebrate a possible game-wining shot by Ibaka at the end of overtime near Memphis' Tayshaun Prince (21) during Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Instant replay showed Ibaka's shot came after the buzzer. Memphis won 100-99 in overtime. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

A pick-pocket steal and break-away dunk to tie the game with only a few seconds left.

A basket at the buzzer that didn’t quite get off in time and sent the game to overtime.

An overzealous official icing a superstar on a critical free throw late in overtime.

Another basket at the buzzer, this one a put-back tip-in, that didn’t count.

Any one of those highlights would make for quite a moment. It would be replayed again and again. It would be remembered forever. But Tuesday night at The Peake, the Thunder and the Grizzlies provided all of those memorable moments and then some.

And some people say TV dramas are dead.

Memphis 100, OKC 99

Welcome to the biggest drama of these NBA Playoffs. Heck, this might be the wildest series that the league has seen in years. Decades, even. Tuesday was the fourth consecutive overtime game in this series.

The fourth.

“Four straight overtimes, that’s good basketball,” Thunder superstar Kevin Durant said. “We lost three of them. That’s the worst part.”

Oh, the drama.

Maybe if the NBA had been in Oklahoma City for decades and decades, we would see this as just another playoff series. One big play after another. Four overtime games in nine nights. Ho hum.

But it sure doesn’t seem like that would happen.

“I’ve never been around four overtime games in a row,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who’s been around the league for a couple decades.

This playoff series has captivated the entire nation. Late in regulation and in overtime Tuesday, social media was going crazy with people talking about the Thunder and the Grizzlies. Even in Los Angeles on the day that Donald Sterling was banned for life from the NBA and the Clippers and Warriors played the fifth game of their highly competitive series, folks were watching the Thunder and Grizzlies.

And they got a show.

With less than 10 seconds left in regulation, the Thunder trailed by two points and the Grizzlies had the ball. Memphis point guard Mike Conley dribbled at the top of the key. Things were dire for the Thunder.

Then out of nowhere, Russell Westbrook swooped in. He poked the ball away from Conley, a textbook pick-pocket steal, scooped up the ball and drove the length of the court for a dunk.

But Memphis set up a slick play that got Zach Randolph a shot at the buzzer that dropped through the hoop. The officials waived off the basket as coming after the buzzer but went to the replay to make sure.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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