The talk in Oklahoma City was all about the headline in The Oklahoman dubbed “Mr. Unreliable.”
Whether it was directed at Kevin Durant or not, the paper might be willing to debate. That is how the nation took it. They had reason to believe it after Durant struggled at the end of Game Five and had moments where he disappeared from the game. That did not sound like an MVP. That was the frustration.
There was no frustration after Game Six.
Kevin Durant exerted his will in scoring 36 points as the Thunder took the lead early and never let up. Oklahoma City evened the series with an impressive road win 104-84 at Memphis.
This game was never close. The Thunder took the lead early and had the focus, particularly on defense, to maintain it. There was no drama needed after this series saw four straight overtime games.
Memphis’ weakness all season has been its inconsistent offense. The Grizzlies rely on their defense to set up their offense. But the Thunder pushed the pace for 17 fast break points and had the game at the pace they wanted. When Memphis has to run up and down the floor, things are not going to turn out well.
Memphis shot 37.3 percent from the floor and tried shooting itself back into the game with 11 missed 3-pointers. That is not Memphis’ game. Marc Gasol had 17 points to lead the Grizzlies.
The bad news came for the Grizzlies late as Mike Conley appeared to injure his hip. He left the game in the third quarter and tried to play again in the fourth, but struggled and ultimately left the game. This one was out of reach, so it might have been precautionary more than anything else.
That is bad news for the Grizzlies for sure. So is heading back to Oklahoma City.