OKLAHOMA CITY — It was only a matter of time before he showed up. The Kevin Durant that had lit up the NBA on his way to a fourth scoring title and possible MVP selection was bound to make his presence known.
It took the magnitude of a Game 7 to bring out the true Durant, who scored 33 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 120-109 win over Memphis Saturday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I got out of my own way,” Durant said. “I was thinking too much, worried about what you guys were saying. I was just thinking too much. The game of basketball is played off instincts and I realized I started playing basketball to have fun. I didn’t want to take the pure fun out of the game.”
The victory advances the Thunder into the Western Conference semifinals where they will play the Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State Warriors game. Game 1 is Monday in Oklahoma City. This is the fourth straight season the Thunder have made it to the semifinals.
“I know that we’re going to keep fighting,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “I know that we have a resilient group that loves to compete. We don’t like to lose. We always try to find ways to get better.”
After fighting through a hard-nosed Memphis defense for six games, Durant torched the Grizzlies in the winner-take-all contest. He shot 12 for 18 to go with eight rebounds and five turnovers. Memphis coach Dave Joerger had no answer for the all-star forward.
“Durant made a lot of shots,” Joerger said. “He made some tough shots, but he was aggressive. Durant came up one time and said ‘Hey, this is fun.’”
Russell Westbrook was just as electric posting 27 points ,10 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists. It’s his second triple double of the postseason.