Short the injured Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant was able to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a game one victory against the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference semifinals. Today he did all he could to repeat his feat. He finished with 36 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists, but it wasn't enough to lift the Oklahoma City Thunder over the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis won by six, 99-93.
Outside of a curiously white-hot Derek Fisher, Durant didn't have much help. He either scored or assisted 19 of the Thunder's 23 points in the third quarter, but by the end of the game, the Memphis had choked the OKC offense, and Durant was relegated to forcing deep shots that refused to fall.
The Grizzlies, on the other hand, combined their suffocating defense with balanced scoring on the offensive end to put the Thunder away. Michael Conley had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine dimes, and Marc Gasol chipped in with 24. Tony Allen had 12, seven boards and five steals on defense.
Allen also made arguably the most important play of the game. With less than a minute to go in the fourth and Memphis up, 94-90, Durant received the ball. When Allen closed him down, Durant turned to shield the ball and lean into Allen, but the reigning NBA All-Defensive First Team selection backed off, pulling the chair from under the OKC star. Durant stumbled and fell, and Allen was able to knock the loose ball to Gasol, more or less sealing the game for the Memphis Grizzlies.
The series is tied, 1-1. Game three is Saturday in Memphis.