(Sports Network) - Two days after a thrilling triple-overtime win in Memphis, the Thunder return to the cozy confines of Oklahoma City for the pivotal Game 5 of their Western Conference semifinals set with the upstart Grizzlies.
You can watch the game live on TSN at 9:30pm et/6:30pm pt.
Kevin Durant made his mark on a marathon Monday, as Oklahoma City wrestled back homecourt advantage in the series with a 133-123 triple OT win over Memphis. Durant made a key block and bucket in the third overtime, scoring 35 points in all with 13 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook poured in 40 points, as the Thunder evened the series at two apiece.
James Harden donated 19 points with seven assists and seven rebounds for the Thunder, who came out on top in just the sixth-ever NBA playoff game to last three or more overtimes.
"He (Westbrook) was terrific tonight," said Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks. "He makes everyone better."
Zach Randolph racked up 34 points and 16 rebounds, Marc Gasol posted 26 points and a staggering 21 rebounds, O.J. Mayo contributed 18 points and Michael Conley 16, but both watched in frustration for the better part of three overtimes after fouling out.
"We have to take care of leads better and finish games," said Randolph. "This one is a tough loss cause we could have won this game and have a 3-1 lead in the series."
In a war of attrition that, at times, looked like a game that neither team could win turned into one that neither team dared to lose. Memphis blew an 18- point first half lead, then Oklahoma City coughed up a double-digit fourth- quarter lead, and that was all before late Monday night turned well into Tuesday morning.
By the third extra frame Westbrook scored his 40th point while hanging in the air, putting the Thunder up 123-121 on his acrobatic bucket. Durant then made a pair of free throws, but Greivis Vasquez answered to make it a one- possession game again. Serge Ibaka's five-footer in the paint made the score 127-123 and Durant came from the weak side to block Gasol on the other end. He then threw a dagger on the other end driving left and elevating for the short runner and a six-point lead that finally wrapped up the victory.
"It's something people are going to be talking about for a while," Durant said of the game. "I'm glad I'm a part of it. It was the biggest game of my life. I just wanted to take advantage of it. I wanted to leave everything on the court and be satisfied with the results."
Just how big was the win for the Thunder?
Well, NBA teams trailing 3-1 in a best-of-seven series wind up losing 95.9 percent of the time. Conversely, team's that are deadlocked at 2-2 with Game 5 at home win 73.9 percent of the time.
"I think both teams were a little fatigued toward the end," Randolph said. "You've got to give them credit. They played well and hit big shots. Their two star players hit big shots toward the end of the game."
Memphis was 3-1 versus the Thunder in the regular season. The two teams have never met in the postseason before.
Game 6 of the series will be back in Memphis on Friday.