"WHITE OUT" WEDNESDAY FOR THUNDER
For the first time in the playoffs, a white T-shirt and white towel were left on each seat inside Oklahoma City Arena for a Thunder playoff game. Wednesday night's "White Out" came compliments of Riverwind Casino. All previous T-shirts were various shades of blue. As usual, Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant wore a T-shirt while on the bench.
-- Considered one of the league's most physical teams, Memphis was whistled for just four fouls in the first 21:02 of Game 5 compared to 10 fouls for the Thunder. In the final five seconds of the second quarter, however, the Grizzlies were called for two fouls in a span of 1.7 seconds.
Memphis had 19 fouls on the night and OKC had 26.
-- OKC started the contest 1 for 6 from the field, but converted 19 of its final next 34 attempts (.559) to shoot 50.0 percent in the first half and lead 46-35. The Thunder wound up shooting 47.4 percent and the Grizzlies 35.9 percent.
— Late in the first half, James Harden took his ninth charge of the season. That is second on the Thunder to Nick Collison's 53.
— The Thunder had nine turnovers in the first quarter, just two in the second and finished with 18.
GAME 4 VS. GAME 5
It would be ludicrous to compare Game 4 to Game 5 between the Thunder and Grizzlies because nothing compares to the triple-overtime marathon played Monday night in FedExForum, which OKC managed to win 133-123.
That being said, some Game 4 vs. Game 5 numbers:
— In Game 4, Memphis had 24 offensive rebounds. In Game 5, the Grizzlies had eight.
— In Game 4, OKC had 54 rebounds in 63 minutes. In Game 5, the Thunder had 50 rebounds in 48 minutes.
— In Game 4, Memphis went an astounding 37 for 40 (.925) from the free-throw line, which included Zach Randolph going 16 for 17. In Game 5, the Grizzlies shot 14 for 23 (.609) from the line, which included Randolph going 3 for 7 (.429).
— In Game 4, Memphis got off 111 shots. In Game 5, the Grizzlies had 78 field-goal attempts.
— In Game 4, Randolph had 34 points and 16 rebounds in 56 minutes. In Game 5, he had nine points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes.
— In Game 4, Marc Gasol had 26 points and 21 rebounds in 57 minutes. In Game 5, he had 15 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes.
— In Game 4, OKC was 5 for 24 (.208) from 3-point range. In Game 5, the Thunder was 9 for 20 (.450).
— Game 4 took three hours, 52 minutes. Game 5 took two hours, 24 minutes.
The Thunder has scored twice as many fastbreak points as the Grizzlies and has outscored Memphis in all five games of the series, including 20-7 on Wednesday.
The series total now stands at 90-45.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been considered a contender for NBA executive of the year the past two seasons – last year because of the 27-win improvement from the pervious season; and this year because of winning 55 games, its first Northwest Division crown and working a trade for Boston center Kendrick Perkins.
Presti failed to win the award, however, finishing second last season and tying for fifth this season with one vote. Miami's Pat Riley and Chicago's Gar Forman shared this year's award.
"He deserves (the award)," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said before Game 5. "He's put this team together. He's done a great job of building it piece by piece with a lot of patience. A lot of thought has gone into it, but knowing Sam as I know him, that (the award) is not really something that he looks to receive."
Presti negotiates all player deals and Brooks coaches the team. They never crossover into each other's duties.
"Communication is the most important thing," Brooks said of their successful working relationship. "If you communicate often, it ends up not being a meeting. It's just 'This is what we do.' If you have multiple meetings and you feel the stress and the pressures of each person's position, I think that could cause problems, but we communicate constantly, daily, before shoot-arounds, after, before practice, on the plane. We have a great relationship. I understand his job and he understands my job. We work together fine."
By John Rohde