The Oklahoma City Thunder lost their third straight game in their series with the Memphis Grizzlies Monday night in Memphis, 103-97. After a Kevin Durant bucket and a Kendrick Perkins block in the closing moments of regulation, the Thunder were able to send the game into overtime but only scored three points in the overtime period in a losing effort.
It looked like the Thunder were going to run away with the game in the first half. They built a 17 point lead, but they slowly let it fade away by the end of the third quarter.
Thunder forward, Serge Ibaka, was able to work his way out of a slump that has been holding him back the entire series. He had a double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds on 6-13 shooting from the field.
It is a good sign for the Thunder that Ibaka was able to contribute offensively, but it was not enough to hold off the Grizzlies from taking a 3-1 series lead.
Now that the Thunder are on the brink of elimination, every game will be do-or-die for the rest of the series. They will have to find a way to contain Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph as the Grizzlies’ bigs had a combined 46 points and 23 rebounds in Monday night’s game.
History tells us that the Thunder are in big trouble. Only eight teams have ever come back from a 3-1 series deficit, and only three of those teams eventually went on to win the NBA Finals. On the bright side, the Thunder were in a similar situation last year when they were down 2-0 in their series with the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. The Thunder ultimately went on to win that series 4-2.
It will certainly be tough to conquer a similar feat this year without the likes of James Harden and Russell Westbrook. The Thunder need more players outside of Durant to step up along with quite a bit of luck.
Game 5 is Wednesday in Oklahoma City at 9:30 ET.