MEMPHIS — Kevin Durant did what everyone says shooters are supposed to do.
He kept shooting.
But in the biggest game of the Thunder’s season, a contest that could go a long way toward making or breaking Oklahoma City’s season, Durant never could find his touch.
So the Thunder had to do it without him.
Riding some supreme confidence by reserve guard Reggie Jackson, the Thunder regained home-court advantage in its first-round series against Memphis with a resilient 92-89 overtime win Saturday night inside FedExForum. It was the third straight overtime game between these two teams.
Game 5 is Tuesday night.
And unless the Thunder wants to turn that contest into a fourth straight heart-stopper, it’ll need to figure out how to get Durant going.
The league’s reigning scoring champion and presumable Most Valuable Player struggled mightily throughout his 49 minutes. He scored 15 points on 5-for-21 shooting.
He added 13 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots but turned the ball over five times, each of those coming in a first half in which he sat on three points.
At that juncture, he had missed six of seven shots.
“I tell them all the time ‘If you only think you can impact the game scoring we’re not going to be successful,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “You impact the game many, many different ways. We’re built on defense. We’re built on teamwork.”
Jackson stepped in and gave his star forward a huge assist.
He scored a game- and career-high 32 points on 11 of 16 shots and added nine rebounds in 37 minutes. He took over down the stretch, first with two monumental baskets in the final minute of regulation to help force overtime and then with eight points in overtime.
His final four points came on free throws in the last 13 seconds to extend the Thunder’s lead to three each trip.
Durant, standing in front of his bench as Jackson stood at the stipe with three seconds remaining, could barely watch. He turned his back to Jackson and spoke with a Thunder assistant coach on the first attempt. He kneeled over and snuck a peak at the second.
When he saw it splash in, Durant gave a fist pump.
When Grizzlies guard Mike Conley missed a contested potential game-tying 3 just before time expired, Durant ran over to Jackson, sucked him into his arms and refused to let him go.
Jackson’s performance also made up for a 15-point night by Russell Westbrook, who went 6-for-24 from the floor.
Durant and Westbrook combined to miss 11 of 13 3-pointers and turn it over 12 times.
For Durant, it was his third straight struggle in this series.
In the last three games, Durant is shooting 27 of 76 from the floor. He’s 6-for-27 from 3-point range.
“KD got great looks,” Brooks said. “It was just one of those nights. The ball was bouncing in and out…I feel for him because he was doing everything right and setting himself up to get good looks.”