OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant’s four-point play was magnificent, even by his lofty standards.
With his Oklahoma City Thunder trailing by five with 13.8 seconds remaining in regulation, the scoring champion hit a difficult 3-pointer from the corner as he was being pushed out of bounds by Marc Gasol. Durant converted the free throw to make it a one-point game.
The magic ran out for the Thunder, though. Zach Randolph scored 25 points to help Memphis defeat Oklahoma City 111-105 in overtime on Monday night and tie their first-round playoff series at one game apiece. The final result took nothing from perhaps the most spectacular play of his season.
“He’s a great player and made a great play,” Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. “It was tough to take that hit and go into overtime.”
When asked if it was the best shot of his career, a sullen Durant said he wasn’t worried about it.
“I don’t know, man,” he said. “We lost, so it really don’t matter.”
Mike Conley added 19 points and 12 assists for the Grizzlies, who executed their game plan perfectly and put themselves in position to take control of the series in Game 3 Thursday night in Memphis. Oklahoma City pushed the pace through most of its 100-86 victory in Game 1, but on Monday, the Grizzlies successfully slowed the tempo and limited Oklahoma City’s fast-break opportunities.
“Basically it’s just going to be a slugfest,” Allen, who was praised by his teammates for playing solid defense against Durant, said. “We’re going to pound it. They’re going to run it. Whoever can come up with the most stops pretty much wins the game.”