NORMAN — While the majority of the NBA media have been focused on a bigoted owner in Los Angeles, Oklahoma City has quietly gone under the radar the past two days.
That could all change at 8 p.m. today when the Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies face off in Game 5 at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. With the series now a best of three, every time they come onto the court, they could be one step closer to the end of their season.
“Going into the series, we knew every game was going to be a close game with how (the Grizzlies) play,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “We knew going into the series it was going to be a very difficult series. Now it’s tied up 2-2, and that means we have to play with the same type of intensity... in front of our home crowd, which are the best fans in the league.”
The Thunder are in this position due to the efforts of reserve guard Reggie Jackson. His 32 points in Game 4 allowed the team to withstand a horrible shooting night from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
But Jackson knows he can’t live off the exploits of one game. For Oklahoma City to win this series and advance, he has to continue showing up.
“We got back to the locker room, showered off and had to put it behind us,” Jackson said of Game 4. “We’re in a best of three game series now, playing a tough team. We know we’re having a tough battle. They believe that they should win. We believe that we should win. Both teams want to advance and it’s a do or die moment.”
However, the rest of the Thunder weren’t ready to put Jackson’s breakout playoff game on the backburner. Durant, who is mired in the worst shooting slump of his career, talked about the embrace he gave the third-year guard on the floor after Game 4.