The Oklahoma City Thunder held the Memphis Grizzlies to 72 points and 35.9 percent shooting in Game 5.
That's the lowest point total against the Thunder this season (92 games) and the fewest points allowed so far in the playoffs this year. It also was one point shy of the franchise playoff record of 71 set by the Seattle SuperSonics against the Los Angeles Lakers on April, 27, 1995.
"It was one of our top defensive games of the season," Thunder point guard Eric Maynor said. "They always say that defense wins championships. That is what we are trying to get to, and so we have to defend like we did tonight in every game."
REST FOR THE WEARY
The Thunder had the advantage of young legs coming off the triple-overtime Game 4 in Memphis on Monday. Now the Thunder has the advantage of having rested its starting lineup in Game 5.
Kevin Durant played 30 minutes, 46 seconds. Russell Westbrook played 25:12, Kendrick Perkins played 22:50, Serge Ibaka played 21:16 and Thabo Sefolosha 16:05.
"It is sometimes nice because you get to sit back and watch your teammates play and see what they bring to the court," Westbrook said. "We have one of the best benches in the league, and tonight that was shown."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks and other NBA coaches frequently are miked during the playoffs.
"It is a little awkward because there are some interesting conversations that take place," Brooks said. "You have to be aware. Sometimes you're not. You might just be talking to one of your assistants casually. You always have to say, 'I'm miked,' but I think it's great for the game. Fans ... you really get to see what goes on in an NBA timeout. I just speak from the heart, and whatever comes out, hopefully it makes sense.
"There are some interesting conversations. There's times where I really don't understand what Serge is yelling at me. Hopefully they don't mike that part of our conversation. I'm clueless. Seriously, Serge, when he gets emotional, all that work he's put in with the English language the past two years just goes out the door. You don't know what he's saying. The players are all looking at me, and I'm looking at the players, and now, we're all looking for Thabo to help us understand everything."
Thunder reserve center Nazr Mohammed had his second straight strong game. After struggling early in the Western Conference semifinal, Mohammed had seven points and four rebounds in Game 4, then had 10 points and six rebounds in Game 5.
"Nazr's been in the league a long time and has had great years," Brooks said. "Last game (4) really gave him some confidence in guarding and scoring around the basket. He was really good (Wednesday). He really made their bigs work hard for their spots on the floor."
BETTER EVERY DAY
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol said the Thunder is getting better as the series progresses.
"I know as (Wednesday's) game went on, we did," Brooks said Thursday. "I think what had a lot to do with that is we didn't turn the ball over (after the first quarter). That allowed us to create some offense and get some confidence offensively, but we still have one game to go, one game to win.
"We know that they're going to give us everything they have because that's what they've done all year. That's a very good team. That's an excellently coached team, but we played well (in Game 5). That's the bottom line. We played a good basketball game. We played it for 48 minutes, and our guys should be proud of the effort they put out because that's how the game is supposed to be played, with everything you have and you live with the results."
The 27-point victory margin in Game 5 is the largest in franchise history since the Seattle Sonics beat the Phoenix Suns by 44 points (122-78) on April 27, 1997. … OKC held Memphis to 20 or fewer points in all four quarters in Game 5, a first in franchise playoff history. The Los Angeles Lakers were the last team to do it (against Boston), on June 15, 2010.