Thunder role players shine in their own respect

USA TODAY Sports

The Oklahoma City Thunder's role players shined in their own duties while helping Kevin Durant to a Game 1 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

It's customary for Scott Brooks to discuss Kevin Durant in a postgame press conference. He was clutch, he was smart and he was the main reason for the Thunder's Game 1 win on Sunday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

But Brooks wasn't going to bother talking up his star. Everyone knows Durant at this point.

"What really makes us good are our role players," Brooks said. "We have stars in those departments."

Take Nick Collison, for example. He played 21 minutes but only recorded two points and four rebounds. He used four fouls, one of them setting the tone for what should be a very physical playoff series. In the second quarter, Collison was late on a rotation and met Memphis forward Tayshaun Prince at the cup, fouling Prince so hard that Prince's fall took him to the locker room for a brief stint before halftime.

How about Derek Fisher? The cagey veteran hit two big three-pointers in the fourth quarter as Oklahoma City rallied. Fisher also stole the ball from Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley and set up a transition bucket for Durant. It was the go-ahead jumper.

"Fish, he makes plays man," Durant said.

Serge Ibaka struggled mightily, hitting 1-of-10 shots from the field, but Memphis coach Lionel Hollins mentioned his three blocks as key plays. Two of those came in the fourth quarter that the Thunder won, 29-18, and the last one happened with 1:31 left in the game. The 4-foot shot attempt by Zach Randolph would have given Memphis a four-point lead, but instead it was sent away.

With Memphis looking to intentionally foul down by one, Reggie Jackson hit two huge free throws with three seconds left that made his foul on a three-point heave by Quincy Pondexter not as bad as it could've been. Additionally, Durant credited Jackson's defense with stifling the Grizzlies. Point guard Mike Conley shot 5-for-15 from the floor and had just three assists.

But perhaps the biggest performance outside of Durant was Kevin Martin. The bench scorer poured in 25 points and injected Chesapeake Energy Arena with much-needed energy -- Russell Westbrook's electric plays weren't available, after all.

"I thought everybody did a good job," Brooks said. "Reggie came in and hit two big free throws. He has the toughness to step up and make those shots. K-Mart, I'm very happy he came in and had a good game offensively.

"I thought everybody did a good job."

Source: All quotes via NBA.com's live press conference stream.

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