MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kevin Durant insisted the Thunder facing elimination was all the motivation he needed.
Thanks to the NBA’s best scorer, the Thunder remains alive and can finish off the Memphis Grizzlies back in Oklahoma City.
Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump and the Thunder routed the Grizzlies 104-84 on Thursday night to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series. His performance came on a day when the hometown newspaper questioned his struggles with a headline calling him “Mr. Unreliable.”
“We needed to win this game,” Durant said. “That’s more motivation than anything, so our team responded. We’ve got to do an even better job in Game 7.”
Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, which hasn’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010.
Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of 15 free throws.
Reggie Jackson had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, which will host Game 7 on Saturday night.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry scored 24 points and dished out nine assists, and the Golden State Warriors forced a decisive Game 7 by outlasting the Los Angeles Clippers 100-99.
The Clippers simply ran out of time in the closing minute, missing three shots before Matt Barnes made a three-pointer with 1.1 seconds to play.
Jamal Crawford led the Clippers with 19 points. Game 7 is Saturday in L.A.
ATLANTA — David West led Indiana on a 16-4 run to end the game, extending the season for the top-seeded Pacers with a 95-88 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Trailing 3-2 after losing at home for the second time in the best-of-seven series, Indiana was poised for an early summer when the Hawks pushed out to an 84-79 lead with just over three minutes remaining, cheered on by a raucous crowd.
But, for the fourth time in this back-and-forth affair, the road team won. Game 7 is Saturday in Indianapolis.