• 63°

NBA Playoffs: Thunder 105, Grizzlies 90

Associated Press
OKLAHOMA CITY ó Coming off his worst performance in the playoffs, Kevin Durant couldn’t get his shots to fall again.
Then he caught a glimpse of his mother dancing around during a timeout and, like magic, the ball started going through the net.
Durant scored 39 points for his best offensive outing of the series, Russell Westbrook had his first playoff triple-double and the Oklahoma City Thunder advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 105-90 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 7 on Sunday.
“I knew she had those dance moves,” Durant said. “She used to do it all the time when I was young. She was having fun. I was glad to see that.”
Soon enough, he was having fun, too ó and the Thunder are two-stepping into Texas for the franchise’s first appearance in the West finals since losing in the NBA finals in 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics.
Game 1 against the Mavericks is Tuesday night in Dallas.
Durant, the NBA scoring champion the past two seasons, followed the lowest-scoring game of his two postseason appearances with one of his best. He heated up in the second quarter after the entertaining exchange with his mother, put the Thunder in control late in the third, then put it away with a pair of two-handed slams in the fourth.
“Durant is a special player, one of the best players in the NBA,” said Memphis star Zach Randolph, who was limited to an inefficient 17 points and 10 rebounds. “The kid is a gym-rat, he works hard. He’s one of my favorite players. You’ve got to give him kudos and give him respect.
“You see what he does night in and night out and he’s just relentless.”
Westbrook, criticized throughout the playoffs for taking too many shots, was at his all-around best with 14 points, matching his season-high with 14 assists and producing extra possessions with 10 rebounds. It was only the fifth triple-double in a Game 7, according to information provided to the team by the Elias Sports Bureau. Larry Bird, Jerry West, James Worthy and Scottie Pippen also accomplished the feat.
“He gets picked on a little bit, but one of the things (with) Russell, he keeps playing,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and tonight he controlled the game.”
Mike Conley scored 18 points to lead Memphis, which had never won a playoff game before this year and made a bid to become the first No. 8 seed to reach the West finals.
“We just believed we could play with anybody,” said Randolph, who had averaged 28.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in the Grizzlies’ three wins in the series. “We’ve been competing like this all year. We just wasn’t seen nationally and a lot of people didn’t know about us because weren’t on TV a lot, but we’ve been playing good basketball all year and competing with the best teams.”
James Harden added four 3-pointers and 17 points for Oklahoma City, and Nick Col

Comments

Comments closed.

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury high, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students