Posted by Matt Moore
These playoffs could be better. We just don't know how.
Memphis and Oklahoma City went to triple-overtime Monday night/Tuesday morning in the Thunder's desperation victory to tie the series. Here's where it lands in history:
- It was the seventh triple-overtime game since 1991.
- Oklahoma City tied for the fifth most free throws since 1991.
- Zach Randolph played 56 minutes, Marc Gasol 57, Kevin Durant nearly 57, and Russell Westbrook 52.
- The two teams combined for 109 rebounds on 206 shots, 17 steals, 17 blocks, and 67 fouls.
- It took an intense OKC comeback, an even wilder Memphis comeback, twice, to get it to three overtimes, including a Mike Conley pull-up three instead of calling a timeout.
Neither team had any quit in them, and the only reason it didn't go to a fourth overtime was foul trouble, when Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo fouled out in the second overtime, leaving Memphis physically exhausted. Russell Westbrook managed to play through two overtimes with five fouls. Otherwise, we'd still be waiting for the two teamt to finish. It was one of the wildest games in a wild playoffs that have been anything but predictable. As Shane Battier said postgame:
"If Elvis had risen from halfcourt and hit the game-winner, I wouldn't have been surprised."
OKC won because of superior play, athletes, and a few more drawn fouls thanks to terrible perimeter defense from the Grizzlies. But the eighth seed in the playoffs forced what many consider a title favorite to triple overtime without their highest paid player, down their best two guards, after blowing a huge first half lead and coming back from a sizeable second-half deficit.
Not bad for an 8th seed.