MEMPHIS — For the past two weeks Memphis has monopolized a section of the English dictionary. Words such as grit, heart, fight and determination have been used to describe its style of play.
With the Oklahoma City Thunder facing elimination Thursday, they decided to put on a display worthy of a few adjectives of their own as they punished the Grizzlies 104-84 in a Game 6 victory at the Fed Ex Forum.
“I thought we did a great job of just being calm,” Russell Westbrook said. “Great job of just coming in and being cool, calm and collective as a unit.”
The win sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 Saturday in Oklahoma City. After playing subpar for much of the series, Thunder coach Scott Brooks is expecting a special atmosphere at Chesapeake Arena as the team tries to keep its season alive.
“It’s a great place to play,” Brooks said. “Loud City will be loud. We have a great building. Everyone knows that. Everyone that comes into our city knows we have the best building in the league. It means it’s going to be loud and crazy in there. But we still have to play with the same type of fearless approach on the defensive end that creates offensive opportunities for us.”
Oklahoma City jumped on top of Memphis early and carried a 21-point lead to start the fourth quarter. Normally that’s a time Brooks will rest his starters. But he kept both Kevin Durant and Westbrook in the game to keep the door closed on the feisty Grizzlies.
Memphis was never able to get closer than 16 points as the Thunder cruised to the 20-point win.
“We played extremely hard to start the game,” Durant said. “That’s what we have to do in order to beat this team. We have to start the game off with a lot of intensity and that’s what we did. We fed off it.”