That is beyond diplomatic; it's inexcusable. For Durant to say that to get a touch at certain times in the game he needs to get a rebound first is either a cover for the strategy or a too-timid position.
Durant was 10-of-24 in Game 5, taking seven fewer shots than Westbrook. He is shooting 31 percent on jumpers in the series after averaging 41 percent during the season. He is shooting three more jumpers per game and getting three fewer free throws than during the regular season.
This is no way to go out, and the Thunder are one more Durant performance like this away from being eliminated.
"I trust my teammates in whatever decisions they make," Durant said. "I've just got to do better for them."
In the confines of their locker room, practice court and film room, the Grizzlies must rejoice at it all. They faced the impossible task of holding down Durant coming off his best season as he enters the middle of his prime. And they're doing it, by the thinnest of measures, but they're doing it. Not only have they gotten into Durant's head, but they've also gotten into the rest of the team's as well.
The Grizzlies have blown leads in the final minute in the past four games. They blew a 17-point lead in Game 3 and a 20-point lead in Game 5. They have allowed three four-point plays in the fourth quarter when they've been ahead by four or five points. They made three baskets in the entire fourth quarter. Randolph and Gasol went 2-of-15 shooting in the second half.
And they have the lead and home-court advantage, looking to pull yet another postseason upset.
"We're a team that's able to bounce back from adversity," said Conley, who had 17 points. "We always come back."