|Date of game: 5/3/2014
Recap: Oklahoma City vs. Memphis
Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The Grizzlies gave everything they had, but MVP front-runner Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City Thunder were just too much to handle for the under-manned visitors.
Durant scored a game-high 33 points, Westbrook posted his third career playoff triple-double and the Thunder advanced to the Western Conference semifinals with a 120-109 win over Memphis in Saturday's Game 7.
Westbrook stuffed the stat sheet, contributing 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Thunder reach the conference semis for the fourth consecutive season. Durant, meanwhile, shot a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc and added eight boards in the triumph.
"You've got to give credit, Memphis is an unbelievable ball club," praised Westbrook. "They're well-coached, they did a great job of mixing things up and making things tough for myself and Kevin."
The Thunder will host the Clippers in Game 1 of the semis on Monday.
Marc Gasol paced Memphis with 24 points and six assists and Mike Conley battled through a strained right hamstring to tally 20 points with nine assists in defeat. Both players added four steals.
"You've got to be proud of winning 50 games, but I expect so much out of this team that right now it's not easy to be positive," said Gasol. "Of course I'm positive and I'm proud. But (I wanted) one more."
Memphis led 3-2 in the series but missed its opportunity to advance at home in Game 6, losing more than just a game in the process. Star power forward Zach Randolph -- who led Memphis in scoring with 18.9 points per game in the series -- was suspended for Game 7 after punching Thunder rookie center Steven Adams late in Thursday's setback.
The Grizzlies fell to 0-3 all-time in Game 7s.
A trio of 3-pointers -- two from Durant and one from Caron Butler -- fueled a 17-5 surge to open the second half and break the game open.
The Thunder had a three-point edge at halftime and quickly extended the margin with a pair of Butler free throws and a Durant mid-range jumper. After Tony Allen made a pair of free throws at the other end, Butler and Durant hit triples on consecutive possessions around a Gasol missed jumper to give OKC its first double-digit lead.
After three more Memphis foul shots, the Thunder ran off seven in a row to make it 78-63.
The Grizzlies didn't get a field goal to go down in the half until Conley's driving layup five minutes and 24 seconds in. Conley hit another one to cut the deficit back to single digits, but the Thunder would not be denied. Adams got in on the action with a jam and Derek Fisher followed with a corner 3. Adams added a short hook shot late in the frame.
The Thunder shot 13-for-17 in the third. They led by as many as 16 and took a 93-81 lead into the fourth.
Memphis never threatened in the fourth.
Early on, the Grizzlies trailed 11-4 but survived the initial surge from OKC and looked like the more confident team over the rest of the first quarter. Mike Miller and Courtney Lee sank 3-pointers around a Conley layup and Gasol scored five straight to make it 24-18.
Westbrook and Durant combined for seven turnovers in the opening 12 minutes. The Grizzlies had just one as a team and led 36-27. It was their highest scoring first quarter of the entire season.
The Thunder rallied to tie the score at 44 midway through the second period. Durant hit a pair of jumpers during a 10-0 flurry, which Westbrook capped with an explosive layup.
Durant's 3-ball from the right wing at 2:33 gave Oklahoma City its first lead since the early stages. Conley tied it on Memphis' penultimate possession of the half with a righty floater plus a free throw, but after Gasol picked up his third foul on a moving screen with nine seconds to go, Durant took the ball the length of the floor and stopped on a dime for a go-ahead triple.
Both teams had their highest-scoring first half of the series. Durant had 21 at the break and Oklahoma City led 61-58.Game Notes
These two teams have met 34 times since the start of the 2010-11 season and
split the series, 17-17 Oklahoma City shot 60.9 percent from the field while
Memphis struggled to the tune of 44.6 percent ... Reggie Jackson and Butler
netted 16 and 15 points, respectively, for OKC ... Fisher matched Robert Horry
for most wins in playoff history with 155 .. Westbrook joined Rajon Rondo as
the only two players in NBA history with two Game 7 triple-doubles ... Lee
scored 16 points for Memphis.