Thursday, May 16, 2013
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Memphis Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 88-84 Wednesday night.
Memphis won the best-of-seven series in five games. The Grizzlies will play either San Antonio or Golden State in the next round.
Zach Randolph had 28 points and 14 rebounds, and Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists for Memphis, the fifth seed.
“I’m happy, but we’ve still got work to do,” Randolph said. “I want to win a ring.”
Kevin Durant missed a 16-foot jumper from the left wing that could have tied the score with six seconds left, part of a miserable shooting night for the three-time NBA scoring champion.
Former Sonic Durant ended up with 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting, the third-worst performance of his playoff career.
“I can live with myself, knowing that I gave it all that I had,” said Durant, who played all 48 minutes and made seven turnovers.
The Thunder, which made it to the NBA Finals last year and was the West’s top seed this season, went 2-6 after All-Star guard Russell Westbrook went out with a knee injury that required surgery.
“I believe in our guys,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t win this series. I felt that we were good enough to win this series.”
Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 to play during a desperation comeback try for the Thunder.
Heat rally to oust Bulls
MIAMI — A fast start and faster finish were enough to send the Miami Heat back to the Eastern Conference finals.
LeBron James scored 23 points, Dwyane Wade added 18 and the Heat rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit to beat the Chicago Bulls 94-91 and close out their second-round series in five games.
Miami ran out to a 22-4 lead, then was outscored by 29 points over the next 27 minutes before recovering.
The defending champion Heat outscored the Bulls 25-14 in the fourth quarter.
Carlos Boozer finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who were without guard Derrick Rose for the 99th straight game.
Nate Robinson and Jimmy Butler missed potential tying three-pointers on the final possession of the season for Chicago, which dropped the last four games of the series.
“Nate had a great look; I had an incredible one,” Butler said.
Ex-Washington Huskies standout Robinson scored 21 points and Butler had 19.
In Game 4, Robinson was scoreless and missed all 12 of his shots from the field.
“We’re disappointed, but this has been a hell of a run for us,” said Robinson, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle. “Our back has been against the wall all season, with a lot of doubters.
“We fought collectively as a team. This is the best team I’ve been on. This group of guys is very special. We worked hard every day. We brought it.”
Miami is 6-0 in its last six chances to end a series.