Memphis ranked 16th in the NBA in free-throw attempts at 21.3 per game during the regular season, but is leading all playoff teams in attempts at 31.9 per game.
Meanwhile, the Thunder was second during the regular season at 26.8 attempts, but is eighth in the postseason at 24.4.
The Grizzlies have taken 20 more free throws in their four games against OKC.
Thunder four-time All-Star Kevin Durant shot 27 times in Game 4 on Monday night and went to the free-throw line only once after getting fouled, and that came with 1:48 left in regulation. Durant's lone previous free-throw attempt came on a defensive 3-second call.
“We didn't get to the free-throw line,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “KD, basically two free throws. He's an aggressive player. I have to do a better job of putting him in a better position where he gets to the paint and draws some fouls and gets to the free-throw line.
“When both teams compete defensively, you need every point you can get, and sometimes those are the free throws that we usually get that we didn't get.”
TWO GAMES DOWN
OKC is no stranger to coming back from being two games down in a playoff series.
The Thunder trails 3-1 against Memphis heading into Game 5 on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
OKC trailed 2-0 to San Antonio in last year's Western Conference Finals, then won four straight after snapping the Spurs' 20-game winning streak.
“You always find yourself, who you are. We have the ability to find ourself (Wednesday) night,” Brooks said. “We want to play in Memphis (in Game 6 on Friday). I know our guys. I've been with 'em quite a bit. They're looking forward to this game. We want to be able to win in front of our home fans and have another game in Memphis, see what we can do there.”
Durant played 48 minutes in a 103-97 overtime loss in Game 4 on Monday night and once again was asked about his fatigue.
Was he tired?
“It's midnight, and my bedtime is usually around 12 o'clock, so I'm a little sleepy,” Durant said, forcing a smile. “But other than that, I'm good.”
Serge Ibaka had a great first half in Game 4 with 13 points and 10 rebounds. But in the second half and in overtime, Ibaka made just one of five shots and finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Ibaka's shooting slump seemed to be more a breakdown of the Thunder offense than Ibaka going back into a funk.
“Serge did a great job,” Brooks said. “He's making shots. That's what he's done all year. It's unfortunate he's had a couple of bad games. He still competed. He still did a lot of things to make them miss. Sometimes, when you don't make your shots, you kind of take it out on the defensive end. He's never done that. He's still competed. I'm glad that he got rewarded.”
With 4:10 left in the second quarter of Game 4, the Thunder led 46-29. At that point, the Thunder's shooting percentage was .567. Memphis' shooting percentage was .324.
The remainder of the game, the Thunder made just 17 of 49 shots (.347). The Grizzlies made 24 of 52 (.462).
That's how a team that led in shooting by .24 percentage points ended up with only a 43.0 to 40.4 percent advantage.
“They came out firing,” said Memphis coach Lionel Hollins. “The second half, we came out and we got after them. We kept scratching and clawing. We found some offense.”
Brooks on how tight the series against Memphis has been: “Every game has been right down to the last two minutes, so that gives you hope. But we knew going into the series that we had enough to win. We expect to win. And if we don't, it's going to be disappointing.”