Oklahoma City wins series 4-3 (Game 7 of 7)

Oklahoma City wins series 4-3

Game 1: Sunday, May 1st
Game 2: Tuesday, May 3rd
Game 3: Saturday, May 7th
Game 4: Monday, May 9th
Game 5: Wednesday, May 11th
Game 6: Friday, May 13th
Game 7: Sunday, May 15th

Grizzlies 90

(46-36, 16-25 away)

Thunder 105

(55-27, 30-11 home)

    Coverage: ABC

    3:30 PM ET, May 15, 2011

    Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    MEM 17 17 24 3290
    OKC 21 21 30 33105

    Top Performers

    Mem: Z. Randolph 17 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Okc: K. Durant 39 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

    Thunder oust Grizzlies as Kevin Durant answers bell with 39-point Game 7

    Associated Press

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- Coming off his worst performance in the playoffs, Kevin Durant couldn't get his shots to fall again.

    Then he caught a glimpse of his mother dancing around during a timeout and, like magic, the ball started going through the net.

    Durant scored 39 points for his best offensive outing of the series, Russell Westbrook had his first playoff triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 105-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday.

    "I knew she had those dance moves," Durant said. "She used to do it all the time when I was young. She was having fun. I was glad to see that."

    Soon enough, he was having fun, too -- and the Thunder are two-stepping into Texas for the franchise's first appearance in the West finals since losing in the NBA Finals in 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics.

    Game 1 against the Mavericks is Tuesday night in Dallas.

    Durant, the NBA scoring champion the past two seasons, followed the lowest-scoring game of his two postseason appearances with one of his best. He heated up in the second quarter after the entertaining exchange with his mother, put the Thunder in control late in the third, then put it away with a pair of two-handed slams in the fourth.

    "Durant is a special player, one of the best players in the NBA," said Memphis star Zach Randolph, who was limited to an inefficient 17 points and 10 rebounds. "The kid is a gym rat, he works hard. He's one of my favorite players. You've got to give him kudos and give him respect.

    "You see what he does night in and night out and he's just relentless."

    Westbrook, criticized throughout the playoffs for taking too many shots, was at his all-around best with 14 points, matching his season-high with 14 assists and producing extra possessions with 10 rebounds.

    "He gets picked on a little bit, but one of the things [with] Russell, he keeps playing," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and tonight he controlled the game."

    Mike Conley scored 18 points to lead Memphis, which had never won a playoff game before this year and made a bid to become the first No. 8 seed to reach the West finals.

    "We just believed we could play with anybody," said Randolph, who had averaged 28.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in the Grizzlies' three wins in the series. "We've been competing like this all year. We just wasn't seen nationally and a lot of people didn't know about us because weren't on TV a lot, but we've been playing good basketball all year and competing with the best teams."

    James Harden added four 3-pointers and 17 points for Oklahoma City, and Nick Collison had 12 rebounds.

    O.J. Mayo scored 14 for Memphis but couldn't provide the same amount of room for Randolph as he did after moving into the starting lineup in Game 6.

    It was the first Game 7 of the 2011 playoffs, and the first in the career for Durant and most other players on two of the NBA's rising teams. They were the two youngest rosters in the league at the start of last season, but have quickly become two of the best -- just as some of the traditional powerhouses have declined.

    "I think that age is kind of out the window now. Usually, you hear young franchise. Now, we've grown up together and we're getting better," Westbrook said.

    "I think as long as we continue to stay humble and continue to work and try to get better, this team's going to make that next jump."

    The first jumps have been big ones for the Thunder -- from 3-29 and headed for the worst season in NBA history after moving to Oklahoma City in 2008 to the West finals just 2½ years later.

    Lionel Hollins pulled the Grizzlies' starters with just over 2½ minutes left, after Durant hung on the rim and yelled after his second dunk of the closing minutes. Brooks followed at his next chance, with Durant calmly raising his right fist as he to the sidelines with the sellout crowd standing and roaring at its loudest.

    Fans started chanting "We want Dallas!" in the final minute -- already gearing up for series that'll be played along a stretch of Interstate 35 a little over 200 miles.

    Durant came out aggressive after scoring just 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting in Game 6. He put up nine shots in the opening quarter but made only two, with Memphis leading by as many as five in the early going.

    The Grizzlies then missed 18 of 23 shots over a stretch between the midway points of the first and second quarters. The Thunder took advantage with a 13-4 run to finish the first quarter with a 21-17 advantage, then extended their lead with the unexpected spark in the second.

    Arena camera crews caught Durant's mother pumping her fist in the air and dancing at her courtside seat during a timeout, and the scoring champ got a kick out of it from across the court. He came out and hit a jumper in the lane and his first 3-pointer from the right side during a 9-0 burst that gave Oklahoma City its first double-digit lead at 33-23.

    He also hit his next two shots -- another 3 and a layup off a Westbrook alley-oop -- to bump the lead up to 11 before Conley's 3-pointer got Memphis to 42-34 at halftime.

    Randolph led the Grizzlies back, and Conley's 3-pointer cut it to 52-49 with 4:52 left before Durant got going again.

    Durant provided eight points -- including two 3-pointers -- during a 14-2 response as the Thunder regained control. After his second 3, he ran screaming to the opposite end of the court and slapped hands with former Oklahoma City player Desmond Mason, who was seated courtside.

    Durant added a free throw after Hollins' technical foul, and the Thunder led 66-51 with 1:24 to go in the third.

    "He brought the All-Star," Memphis' Tony Allen said. "He pushed the turbo button on us today."

    Game notes

    Home teams are 86-21 in Game 7s in NBA history, and 58-14 since the ABA-NBA merger before the 1976-77 season. ... The Thunder had been 5-8 at home on Sundays in the regular season and playoffs, and 30-4 on all other days. ... Gary Payton had the only two other postseason triple-doubles in the Thunder's franchise history, dating to its days in Seattle.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 90 105
    FGM-FGA 35-88 (.398) 37-77 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 5-15 (.333) 11-28 (.393)
    FTM-FTA 15-19 (.789) 20-23 (.870)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-39 14-44
    Assists 13 25
    Turnovers 10 13
    Steals 6 7
    Blocks 5 11
    Fast Break Points 13 19
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (2/0) 19 (2/0)
    Largest Lead 5 20

    Top Performers

    Oklahoma City
    Zach Randolph Randolph
    Points: 17
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Kevin Durant Durant
    Points: 39
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 3

    Research Notes

    RandolphZach Randolph struggled with his inside game in Game 7, shooting 2-6 within five feet of the basket. It was a microcosm of the series, as the Grizzlies lost games when Randolph was limited inside.

    NEXT LEVEL: Russell Westbrook had a playoff career-high 14 assists in Game 7, leading to 33 points for the Thunder. Kevin Durant was the main beneficiary, as 21 of Durant's 39 points were off passes from Westbrook. Oklahoma City is now 42-14 when Westbrook assists on at least 16 points.
    NEXT LEVEL: The Thunder blocked 10 shots inside of 5 feet Sunday. That is the most blocks within that range in a game this postseason. The previous high was nine, also by Oklahoma City on April 27 against the Nuggets.
    NEXT LEVEL: Coming into Game 7, Kevin Durant struggled when guarded by Tony Allen, shooting 30.2 percent while scoring 0.70 points per play. In Sunday's win, Durant was able to break away from Allen's defense, especially when running off screen plays, where Durant scored 1.50 points per play on 75 percent shooting.
    NEXT LEVEL: In Game 6, Kevin Durant did not attempt a field goal from inside of 5 feet of the basket for only the second time in the last two seasons. In Game 7, Durant attempted eight such shots, signifying his across-the-board improvement in the biggest game of his young career.
    After scoring just 11 points in Game 6, Kevin Durant exploded for 39 points in Game 7. His 39 points are the 5th-most in a Game 7 in the last 15 seasons.
    From Elias: Russell Westbrook joins a hall-of-fame list of players to have a triple-double in a Game 7 all time

    ESPN Stats & Information