MEMPHIS: Kevin Durant shook off criticism to score 36 points on Thursday (Friday in Manila) as the Oklahoma City Thunder extended their NBA season with an emphatic 104-84 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder, facing elimination in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series, thumped the Grizzlies to level the set at three games apiece.
The decisive game seven will be in Oklahoma City on Saturday, when the Los Angeles Clippers will host the Golden State Warriors in a winner-take-all game seven after the Warriors staved off elimination in their first-round series with a 100-99 triumph in Oakland.
Stephen Curry scored 24 points and handed out nine assists for the Warriors.Andre Iguodala added 15 points and Draymond Green finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds, five steals and four assists for Golden State, who overcame a lackluster 39.3 percent shooting from the field.
In Oklahoma City, where The Oklahoman newspaper on Thursday ran a headline dubbing Durant “Mr. Unreliable” in the wake of some sub-par scoring performances in this series.
Readers were so irked that the newspaper apologized, saying the headline “missed the mark”.
It may have hit home with Durant, who said before the game he needed to be more aggressive.
Durant, the NBA regular-season scoring champion and front-runner for Most Valuable Player honors, did just that, scoring 14 points in the first quarter alone as the Thunder seized control of the contest.
Durant also pulled down 10 rebounds and made 14 of his 15 free throw attempts.