Durant puts in big performance to lead OKC out of trouble for now.
Despite being on the verge of elimination in the first round, the Oklahoma City Thunder and Indiana Pacers picked up road wins to avoid an early exit in their respective series.
Tipped to win the MVP award this year, Kevin Durant took over with his team facing elimination and put up 36 points and 10 rebounds to help them break out of a slump and level matters in this series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
A hometown newspaper had questioned his struggles in the build-up to the game with a headline calling him “Mr. Unreliable”.
Having responded with a game-winning performance, Durant was keen to focus minds on Game 7 immediately and insisted that they still have a job to do.
Russell Westbrook added 25 points while Memphis guard Tony Allen called the loss embarrassing in front of their own fans as the Thunder ultimately wanted the win more, and the defeat was made worse with point guard Mike Conley suffering a hamstring strain.
The Thunder will now host Game 7 on Saturday night and with their leader back in his rhythm, they will be favourites to prevail.
The same could also be said of the Indiana Pacers after they forced a Game 7 in their series against the Atlanta Hawks after a 16-4 run to close the game on Thursday.
David West had 24 points and 11 rebounds along with six assists, while Paul George added 24 points as the visitors put the pressure on the Hawks who had the chance to close out the series.
However, it now switches back to Indianapolis on Saturday where the top seed in the Eastern Conference should be confident of overcoming their slump and finally getting through to the next round.
However, with Paul Millsap going for 16 points and 18 rebounds, the threat is still there as Atlanta have played some great basketball at times during this match-up.
Over in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors were also able to force a Game 7 in their series against the Los Angeles Clippers, with Stephen Curry leading them to victory on Thursday night.
Curry had 24 points and dished out nine assists, while Andre Iguodala added 15 points and Draymond Green had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
While Curry conceded that a lot of the Warriors roster haven’t been involved in a Game 7 before, it will be an exciting experience for them and they will relish the opportunity of going to Los Angeles and getting a win.
If they are to do so, they will need to limit the Clippers big men again after restricting Blake Griffin to 17 points and nine rebounds while DeAndre Jordan had 19 rebounds and nine points.
Nevertheless, Jamal Crawford is content with the situation that they are in and is confident that they will be able to pick up the required win at the Staples Center.
Indiana Pacers 95-88 Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-84 Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Clippers 99-100 Golden State Warriors