“Mr. April” Bails Out The Thunder

Reggie Jackson scored a playoff career high 32 points, including two late baskets in regulation, to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 92-89 overtime win over Memphis in Game 4 of their first round NBA Playoff series on Saturday night in Memphis.

With stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook struggling shooting, Jackson was the Thunder’s go-to guy in Game 4, making 11 of 16 shots and grabbing 9 rebounds.

Jackson’s two biggest shots came late in regulation, with the Thunder trailing by five, Jackson hit a three-pointer cut the Memphis lead to 80-78.

Jackson then hit a running floater in the lane to tie the game at 80.

Memphis had a chance to win in regulation, but Marc Gasol missed a jumper, and after former OSU star Tony Allen got the rebound, Serge Ibaka blocked Allen’s shot.

Jackson missed a three pointer from three quarters court, sending the game to overtime tied at 80.

In OT, the lead changed hands four times, with the Thunder making all eight free throw attempts in the overtime.

Down three, Memphis had a chance to tie it with 3 seconds left, but Mike Conley missed a three-pointer at the buzzer, and OKC had survived to even the series at two games apiece.

It was just the second time in seven playoff games at Memphis the Thunder had won, and the second win in six playoff overtime games against the Grizzlies.

Jackson’s play led a Thunder bench which was the key to the win after struggling the last two games of the series.

OKC’s bench outscored Memphis 43-30.

Jackson has sometimes been nicknamed “Mr. April” or “Mr. May” for his post-season success, a play on the nickname of baseball Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, who was known as “Mr. October” for his playoff exploits.

The bench play made up for poor games by Durant and Westbrook, who combined to make just 11 of 45 shots from the field, and two of 13 from three-point range.

Durant finished with just 15 points on 5 of 21 shooting, but did grab 13 rebounds.

Westbrook was 6 of 24 shooting, and finished with 15 points as well.

He had seven assists but also had seven turnovers.

The Thunder led most of the game, but watched Memphis go on a 13-2 run late in the fourth quarter to take an 80-75 lead before Jackson’s heroics tied the game.

Serge Ibaka had a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds plus 5 blocked shots.

Memphis struggled at the free throw line, making 13 of 23 shots.

The Thunder led by as many as 14 points, and outrebounded Memphis 58-49.

OKC returns home for Game 5 on Tuesday night at 8:00 at Chesapeake Arena.