The Norman Transcript


April 27, 2014

Jackson lifts Thunder to overtime victory over Memphis

MEMPHIS — After two days of hearing how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook weren’t getting any help, Reggie Jackson decided it was time to leave his imprint on the postseason.

The reserve guard came off the bench and scored a career-high 32 points to lead Oklahoma City to a crucial 92-89 overtime victory over Memphis on Saturday at the Fed Ex Forum.

Jackson’s first  30-point plus scoring game couldn’t have come at a better time.

“I was just trusting myself,” Jackson said. “All the work I put in this summer. My teammates trusted me. They just allowed me to go out there and play free, have fun and we’re just fortunate to come out and get this win.”

It was the third straight overtime game between the two teams this postseason. The last time that happened was 2009 between Boston and Chicago.

"Both teams want to win," Westbrook said. "Nobody wants to go home. Obviously, we didn't want to go down 3-1. They wanted to go up 3-1. Both teams came out and competed to the best of their ability. We were fortunate enough to get the win."

The series is now tied 2-2 as it heads back to Oklahoma City for Game 5 on Tuesday. But the situation easily could have been under different circumstances if not for the efforts of Jackson.

With 1:58 left in overtime, Jackson nailed two free throws to give the Thunder an 86-85 lead. Mike Conley answered with a step-back jumper in Westbrook’s face.

Durant drove to the basket and was fouled attempting a shot. He hit 2 for 2 from line and put Oklahoma City back in front with 1:02 remaining.

The Thunder forced the Grizz into a miss and had a chance to push lead to at least three. But two straight misses and a turnover by Westbrook gave the ball to Memphis with 30 seconds on the clock .

Conley missed a jumper and Jackson came up with the rebound. He knocked in a pair of free throws to make it a 3-point lead and close out the contest.

“We were struggling in the fourth quarter and he just took it over," Durant said of Jackson. "He was aggressive going to the rim all night. He just told himself before the game to be assertive. He made huge, huge plays and I’m so proud of him.”

Oklahoma City needed Jackson to come up big because the team’s biggest stars could not find their shot. Durant finished with 15 points on 5-for-21 shooting to go with 13 boards and five turnovers. Westbrook was 6 of 24 from the field for 15 points, along with five offensive rebounds and seven turnovers.

Even though their numbers didn’t show it, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said it was the work of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins that put them over the top.

“They are the DNA of our team,” Brooks said. “They give you everything they have and don’t get the opportunity to score. They play for the team every night. They do the dirty work. That’s what makes us a great team.”

Led by Jackson's 11-of-16 shooting, the Thunder bench outscored Memphis 43-30.

Marc Gasol paced the Grizzlies with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Conley and Tony Allen each posted 14 points in the loss.

“We did enough defensively to win the game,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “But we didn’t do enough offensively.”

After the Thunder had built its lead to 14 points in the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies continued to scrap and chop away at it. Memphis went on a 24-9 run to take 76-73 advantage with 3:28 left.

Durant’s frustration seemed to grow after each missed shot. His body language showed that he couldn’t figure out what was happening. It forced him to take ill-advised shots that were nowhere close to hitting the mark.

“Shots weren't falling, but that's not the whole game," Durant said. "I trusted in my teammates and they came through and knocked down some shots. I just need to get back to the drawing board, trust my work on my shot. I know Russell is going to do the same thing. Keep trusting in the process.”

Late in regulation, Gasol put the Grizzlies up by five when he drilled a mid-range jumper.

But Jackson, who had been the best player on the court all night, stormed back with five straight points to tie the contest with 30.6 seconds left.

Memphis got the ball to Gasol, but his shot was off. Allen stole the rebound from Durant and tried to put in a layup, but Ibaka got the block to send the game into overtime.

For Oklahoma City to win with Westbrook and Durant not playing their best offensively should give the team a boost heading into Game 5.

“I tell them all the time if all you can do is scoring, we are not going to be successful,” Brooks said. “You can impact the game in many, many ways. We are built on defense, we are built on team work.”

Michael Kinney

Follow me @eyeamtruth


Breaking news, severe weather alerts, AMBER alerts, sports scores from The Norman Transcript are available as text messages right to your phone or mobile device. You decide which type of alerts you want to receive. Find out more or to signup, click here.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 5.49.44 AM.png Julian Wilson, Geneo Grissom take on more suitable roles for 2015 season

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches....

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Woodard joins successful soccer team in Stillwater

    Haley Woodard has been one of the preeminent multi-sport stars in the state for several years. The Norman North senior is a state champion in track and soccer and has been an integral part of a basketball team that’s been to back-to-back ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014

  • Aggie’s QB Chuckie Keeton talk dominates Mountain West media day

    LAS VEGAS — Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton got his junior season off to a superb start, only to have it derailed by a knee injury in Game 6....

    July 24, 2014

  • Heavily favored U.S. group faces off against world’s best female golfers

    OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The inaugural International Crown is unique for what it isn’t. Thirty-two elite players from eight countries will compete at Caves Valley Golf Club to determine which nation has the best women’s players in the world. ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Weir, DeLaet attempt to end 60-year Open drought

    MONTREAL — Mike Weir was well aware that it has been 60 years since a Canadian won the Canadian Open....

    July 24, 2014

  • NCAA infractions chair responds to ‘cheating pays’

    The chairman of the NCAA’s infractions committee says a number of factors could be the cause for the lack of activity by the group that prompted Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby to call the enforcement program “broken.”

    July 23, 2014