The look on Kevin Durant’s face said it all. This was not how his 2013 playoff run was supposed to end.
Down three games to one in this best of seven, it was win or go home for this young Thunder squad.
It certainly didn’t happen the way Durant or coach Scott Brooks drew it up. The Thunder offense was forced out of rhythm by the overwhelming defensive punch packed by the Grizzlies.
Durant looked frustrated for most of the game, at one point slamming the ball on the court after being whistled for a loose ball foul. Oklahoma City looked for a big performance from their superstar on Wednesday night, who came up empty. Durant uncharacteristically went 5-12 from the field, scoring 21 points.
The Thunder rallied back from down 12 inside the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Their furious comeback fell just short. Oklahoma City pulled to within two in the final seconds and got the ball into Durant’s hands. His jumper is one that he would like back. He fired off a mid-range attempt that never got close and clanked off the iron.
The stellar play of Grizzlies’ power forward Zach Randolph proved to be too much for the Thunder. Randolph tallied 28 points and 14 rebounds on Wednesday, showing an all around look of dominance.
Randolph is sure to give headaches to whichever team emerges from the series between the San Antonio Spurs and Golden State Warriors. When playing this brand of basketball, he proves to be an unstoppable force for Memphis.
Game 5 was a microcosm of the Oklahoma City playoff run. Missing point guard Russell Westbrook, Durant showed that he can’t carry the entire load himself.