Durant unable to lead the Thunder to crucial road win.
Despite holding a 17-point lead in the first half against the Memphis Grizzlies, the Oklahoma City Thunder went cold after the interval and suffered a 103-97 loss in overtime.
The defeat now leaves OKC on the brink of elimination as they trail their rivals 3-1 in the series, and they must now win on Wednesday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena to force a Game 6.
Kevin Durant paced the Thunder with 27 points, and despite key contributions from both Serge Ibaka and Kevin Martin on the offensive end, it wasn’t enough for coach Scott Brooks to grab that all-important win.
In what has been a key factor throughout this series, Durant will require more help from his team-mates in order to successfully turn this series around.
Despite Martin and Ibaka’s best efforts, both Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha will be disappointed having failed to add significant numbers to the scoring total, as the Thunder continue to struggle in the absence of point guard Russell Westbrook.
Having suffered a season-ending injury in Game 2 of the series with the Houston Rockets in the previous round, Westbrook’s ability to open up the floor and hit shots at key times during games to relieve the pressure off his team-mates is a vital aspect as to why the Thunder have been so successful.
His absence has undoubtedly taken a great deal away from their overall game, as his athleticism and speed make him a significant part of why they have progressed so quickly over the past year or two.
While Durant has done a sterling job of picking up the pieces by trying to lead this team as an all-round leader as opposed to just going on shooting streaks, it looks as though there will be no NBA Finals repeat for either the 24-year-old or his organisation.