After the Oklahoma City Thunder's Game 5 loss on Tuesday, the number two seed in the West was on the verge of a first-round postseason exit. And if that weren't enough, an Oklahoma newspaper called Kevin Durant "Mr. Unreliable."
Last night, the Thunder — and Durant — silenced their critics (at least for now) by defeating the Grizzlies, 104-84.
Game 6 ended in regulation for the first time after four straight overtime contests. But a quick conclusion to a game is be expected when a superstar takes control. And that's what Kevin Durant did last night. Durant dominated the Grizzlies, putting up 36 points and 10 rebounds and leading his team in a must-win game.
Check out this clip of every one of his Game 6 points:
OKC's other star, Russell Westbrook, dropped 25 points and 9 boards, but this was KD's show. He went 11-23 from the field and 14-15 at the free-throw line on his way to his 14th 35-point playoff game, the most in the NBA since 2010. (But check this out: Durant was 0-6 from three-point range.)
After the game, Durant claimed he wasn't thinking about being called unreliable. "We needed to win this game," he said. "That's more motivation than anything, so our team responded. We've got to do an even better job in Game 7."
But teammate Caron Butler knew that Durant — and the Thunder — entered Game 6 with a pretty big chip on their shoulder.
"This is why you play the game to prove doubters wrong, and adversity builds character," he said. "This team has a strong character and a will."
Game 7 is in Oklahoma City on Saturday night.
What team do you think will win the Thunder-Grizzlies series? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo: Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images