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Thunder Get OT Win to Tie Series, Houston Seeks Second Straight Win Against Portland

Playing in game that included off nights for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the No. 2 Oklahoma City Thunder overcame these challenges and defeated the No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies in overtime, 92-89 on Saturday. The series is now tied at 2-2 as three of its four games have gone to overtime.

For the night, Durant scored 15 points (5-of-21 shooting); he went 1-of-8 from the midrange and for 3-pointers, 1-of-7. Westbrook didn’t fare much better with his 15 points (6-of-24 shooting).

Instead, taking over the spotlight for this fourth game was Reggie Jackson with his 32 points (11-of-16 shooting). In the final quarter with a minute remaining, Jackson scored five consecutive points to tie up the game and give his team an opportunity for the win. This came after the Thunder had blown a 14-point advantage and in the end, Durant’s two free throws in overtime at the 1:02 mark gave the Thunder the final lead for the win.

Reggie Jackson

Reggie Jackson

From the previous games, Jackson had scored a combined 15 points. Look for Memphis to keep their eyes on him in Game 5.

Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Jackson’s game via the Associated Press, “Reggie played an outstanding basketball game. He was able to attack and finish around the rim like he’s done all year, and I knew he would bounce back. … He’s done a great job of coming in and giving us that lift offensively when we needed it as a sixth man.”

For the Grizzlies, they had chances for the the win. In addition to their blown lead, they were weak in free throws (13-of-23) and at the end of regulation, Marc Gasol missed the shot for the win; his teammates couldn’t get it done either. In overtime, it was Mike Conley who just couldn’t get the last shot for the victory.

Gasol led Memphis in scoring with his 23 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Allen added 14 points with 13 rebounds while Conley contributed 14 points and Zach Randolph scored 11.

For Game 5, the Thunder will return home.  It’s too early to pick a winner but Vegas gives Oklahoma 11/2 odds to win the 2014 NBA Championship while Memphis has 33/1 odds.

In other Northwest division action, on Sunday, the No. 4 Houston Rockets will enter Game 4 at home with momentum after defeating the No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers, 121-116,  in overtime on Friday. The series now sits with a 2-1 advantage Portland.

In Game 3, James Harden had a career night for a playoff game with his 37 points (13-of-35 shooting). This departed from his first two games where he had a combined 14 of 47 shooting. Dwight Howard added 24 points with 14 rebounds.

But similar to Oklahoma City, Houston also found a new MVP for its game, Troy Daniels. He nailed a 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds remaining in OT to get the win. For the night, he scored nine points (all 3-pointers).

Troy Daniels

Troy Daniels

For Daniels, rewind to earlier in the season and he was playing in the D-League. On March 5, he debuted in the NBA and Friday’s game represented only his sixth game in the league.

Friday’s win had been big for Houston as no team has overcome an 0-3 deficit; however, the Blazers remain confident as they lead the series 2-1. For them, they haven’t moved past round one since 2000 and it’s been two years since they’ve been in the playoffs.

But no worries, as Damian Lillard, who scored 30 points on Friday, said of the series via the Associated Press, “It would be a problem if we lost the game because of effort or because we weren’t focused on taking care of business, but we were. It’s the playoffs and nobody said we were going to come out and sweep them. We’re lucky we were able to win two games in Houston and be in the position we’re in right now.”

Sunday’s game is in Portland and the home team will get the win (-2, 214 o/u).

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