Derek Fisher turned a tough situation for the Oklahoma City Thunder into the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies. With the Thunder down...
OKLAHOMA CITY — Derek Fisher turned a tough situation for the Oklahoma City Thunder into the worst-case scenario for the Grizzlies.
With the Thunder down by one in the final minute, Fisher poked the ball away from Memphis’ Mike Conley, springing three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant into the open court with a chance to put Oklahoma City on top.
Durant pulled up and connected on a jumper with 11.1 seconds left for the last of his 35 points, lifting the Thunder to a 93-91 victory over the Grizzlies on Sunday in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals.
“I just wanted to get up the floor as quick as possible and find a shot,” said Durant, who finished second in league MVP voting. “That was the only shot I could find and, by the grace of God, it went in.”
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Game 2 is Tuesday night in Oklahoma City.
Thabo Sefolosha kept the Grizzlies from going back ahead, deflecting a pass that Conley was able to corral — but only after diving out of bounds. Reggie Jackson then hit two free throws for a three-point lead for the Thunder. Former Huskies star Quincy Pondexter couldn’t force overtime after getting fouled while attempting a three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left. Pondexter, a 72 percent career free-throw shooter, missed the first free throw.
James wins MVP
MIAMI — LeBron James is the overwhelming choice as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player.
The Miami Heat star took 120 of 121 first-place votes in this year’s balloting, giving him the award for the fourth time.
James’ selection was not unanimous, despite plenty of suggestions from people around the league in recent weeks that he was worthy of that honor. The New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony received the only other first-place vote from a panel of broadcasters and sports writers who cover the league.
“It was probably a writer out of New York that didn’t give me that vote,” James said. “And we know the history between the Heat and the Knicks, so I get it.”
Shaquille O’Neal had been the closest to sweeping every first-place vote, taking 120 of a possible 121 in the 1999-2000 balloting.
NEW YORK — The Brooklyn Nets announced that P.J. Carlesimo won’t return as coach, hours after they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.
The former Sonics coach helped the Nets finish 49-33 after replacing the fired Avery Johnson in December, earning the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Pacers beat Knicks
NEW YORK — David West scored 20 points, Paul George added 19 and the Indiana Pacers beat the New York Knicks 102-95 in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
D.J. Augustin had 16 points for the Pacers, who built a 16-point lead while Anthony was on the bench in foul trouble in the third quarter, and easily held on to spoil the Knicks’ first second-round game since 2000.
Anthony finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds but was frustrated by the Pacers’ rugged defense.