The Norman Transcript

Breaking News

National Sports

May 15, 2013

Durant, Thunder return home at risk of elimination

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Memphis Grizzlies are showing a knack for closing out tight games against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

All that’s left to prove is whether they can finish off a playoff series that’s been nip and tuck throughout and move on to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history.

In each of the first three games of the series, the go-ahead bucket was scored in the final 2 minutes. Then Game 4 went to overtime, with Memphis winning 103-97 to take a commanding 3-1 lead in the series and put the Thunder on the brink of elimination. Game 5 is tonight in Oklahoma City.

“It’s not like any of the games that it was handed to us. Every game has been right down to the last 2 minutes,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Tuesday as both teams took the day off. “That gives you hope.”

For Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City, a once-promising season now comes down to desperation time. Without injured All-Star Russell Westbrook, the Thunder need to win three in a row if they hope to reach the West finals for a third straight season or make their second straight trip to the NBA Finals.

For his career, Durant is 1-3 when facing elimination. The only win came in Game 7 against Memphis two seasons ago in the West semifinals.

“One thing about Kevin, he’s going to come back and give everything he has,” Brooks said. “He’s not an excuse guy. He’s not going to blame anything on nobody, other than put the pressure on himself to perform every night. That’s what makes us a good team, because of that attitude that he has.”

Durant has had to do it all since Westbrook had knee surgery prior to Game 3 of the first round of the playoffs. He’s averaging 30.8 points, 11 rebounds and 6.8 assists in this round, and also hit all the key shots down the stretch in the Thunder’s Game 1 victory.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Luke Donald shoots 66, takes lead at RBC Heritage

    HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Luke Donald believes he’s got the right game on the right course — and is ready to make up for so many near-misses at the RBC Heritage. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to shoot 66 on Saturday and take a ...

    April 20, 2014

  • Nets’ experience trumps Raptors in Game 1

    TORONTO — The Brooklyn Nets made a case for the important of playoff experience in their opening victory over the Toronto Raptors....

    April 20, 2014

  • Heat open quest for another title

    MIAMI — If the Miami Heat are going to watch their season and reign atop the NBA end at the hands of the Charlotte Bobcats, then fates of the franchises will have to change in a hurry....

    April 20, 2014

  • Warriors beat Clippers, 109-105, in playoff opener

    LOS ANGELES — Klay Thompson scored 22 points, David Lee added 20 and the Golden State Warriors got Blake Griffin and Chris Paul in foul trouble to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Saturday in their playoff opener....

    April 20, 2014

  • Cardinals edge Nationals, 4-3

    WASHINGTON — Lance Lynn was sharper than he had had been all season, which made it all the more frustrating for him when he failed to make it out of the sixth inning....

    April 20, 2014

  • Teague leads Hawks past top-seeded Pacers in Game 1

    INDIANAPOLIS — Atlanta’s Jeff Teague demolished the Pacers’ grand playoff plan. As his teammates set up around the 3-point line, Teague simply blew through open lanes to the basket repeatedly. The Pacers didn’t have an answer....

    April 20, 2014

  • Stars limp home down 2-1

    DALLAS — Tyler Seguin’s week away from Dallas felt a little longer, probably because it included a pair of one-goal losses at Anaheim to start a first-round playoff series....

    April 20, 2014

  • Sooners advance to Super Six

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Oklahoma, Georgia and LSU advanced to the Super Six of the NCAA women’s gymnastics championships....

    April 19, 2014

  • Can the Heat flip the switch?

    MIAMI — LeBron James was walking down the hallway that the Miami Heat call “Championship Alley” a few minutes after last season’s NBA Finals, when he decided the time was right to send a message. It wasn’t for his fans....

    April 19, 2014

  • No April, May or June Madness in NBA

    AP National Writer ATLANTA — If the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks were in any other sport, they might have a glimmer of hope for winning a championship. The NBA? No way....

    April 19, 2014