Trans. Mar 21 6:00 ET (Mar 21 6:00 ET ) Game-winners follow some standard templates: the one-on-one jumper, the pick-and-roll, the drive to the rim that ends in either a lay-in or a kickout to a shooter for an open jumper. There are varying degrees of difficulty and excitement within and across those categories, of course, but the plays usually fall within that range.
Wednesday night, then, represented something of an outlier, because it featured two game-winners achieved by other means: the tip-in.
The first occurred in one of the night's marquee games: a tense, tight matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies, two of the top three contenders in the West. With 13.6 seconds left in overtime and OKC up 89-88, Memphis isolated Zach Randolph in the post. He faced up, tried to drive, and put up a tough runner over Nick Collison and the slow-to-rotate Kendrick Perkins. That left Kevin Durant to box out Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who muscled into position and tipped the ball in with 0.8 seconds on the clock.
The Thunder still had a 20-second timeout they could have used to both advance the ball and try to draw up their own game-winning response, but as Daily Thunder's Royce Young wrote , "Perk inexplicably inbounded the ball [and] Westbrook launched a 70-foot shot that was wide right." OKC's prayer went unanswered, and the Grizzlies won 90-88 .
Watch that play above. After the jump, check out how rookie forward Anthony Davis downed the Boston Celtics in New Orleans.
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - Lost in the flashiness of the Oklahoma City Thunder's offensive fireworks is soft-spoken forward Nick Collison, a steady hand on a young team playing for the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship. The Thunder's series-opening 105-94 victory over the Miami Heat on Tuesday in the NBA Finals was vintage Collison: eight points, 10 rebounds and one steal in 21 minutes. On a night that Kevin Durant scores 36 and backcourt mate Russell Westbrook adds 27, hardly a word was spoken about Collison's vital contribution off the bench. ...
The Oklahoma City Thunder are in the NBA Finals. Good for them. Good for Kevin Durant. Good for Nick Collison. I may just stick with the Western Conference and root with a measured amount of enthusiasm for the Thunder. Will it be easy? No. Here are five reasons it is a little tough to see the Thunder win.