NBA: Thunder grab big win, lead series
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Kevin Durant scored 19 points, reserve Daequan Cook added 18 and the Oklahoma City Thunder followed their triple-overtime triumph with a 99-72 blowout of the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night to take their first series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.
The Thunder lead 3-2 heading into Game 6 on Friday night in Memphis. They got there with ease considering what happened two nights earlier.
Marc Gasol had 16 points to lead Memphis, which matched its lowest point total from the regular season and played like it was still drained from an emotional loss in their own building that knocked them out of control in the series.
The Grizzlies shot a season-worst 36 percent and were far enough behind that Durant and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook didn’t even have to play in the fourth quarter.
By the end, Durant was wearing one of the same white Thunder T-shirts as the sellout crowd and was standing on the sidelines directing the lineup of reserves that got to play in garbage time.
“We played great defense. Everyone was in tune, locked in,” Durant said. “It was a group effort.”
MIAMI OUSTS BOSTON
MIAMI (AP) – For LeBron James, Game 5 last season against Boston was horrific.
A year later, Game 5 was humbling.
And he and the Miami Heat are halfway to an NBA championship, having finally found a way to vanquish the Celtics.
Dwyane Wade scored 34 points, James added 33 – including the game’s last 10 in a spectacular closing flourish, part of Miami’s 16-0 run over the final 4:15 – and the Heat beat the Celtics on Wednesday night to win their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
When it was over, James knelt on the court, oblivious to the photographers who quickly surrounded him in Miami’s celebration.
“Everything went through my mind at that point,” James said. “Finally getting over this hump against this team. Everything I went through this summer, with ‘The Decision’ and deciding to come down here to be a part of this team … because I knew how important team is to this sport … and all the backlash I got from it.
“I’d be up here for two hours if I tell you exactly everything that went through my head. Very emotional at that point, you know, and happy we got through it as a team.”