OKLAHOMA CITY - With their trademark grit-and-grind mentality, the Memphis Grizzlies are making history for a franchise with little prior postseason success.
Zach Randolph had 28 points and 14 rebounds, Mike Conley added 13 points and 11 assists, and the fifth-seeded Grizzlies advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time in franchise history by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 88-84 on Wednesday night.
"This is the first time, so it definitely means a lot. I'm happy, but we've still got work to do," Randolph said. "I want to win a ring."
Coach Lionel Hollins said: "We're trying to do something really special. We want to go as far as we can go. To get there, we had to get through Oklahoma City. And now, we have to get through either Golden State or San Antonio."
In a series filled with games that went down to the wire, the finale fit right in - even though the Thunder trailed by 12 with three minutes left.
Kevin Durant missed a 16-foot jumper from the left wing to tie it with six seconds left, finishing off a miserable shooting night for the three-time NBA scoring champion. Durant ended up with 21 points on 5-for-21 shooting, the third-worst performance of his playoff career.
"I gave it all I had for my team. I left it all out there on the floor," Durant said. "I missed 16 shots, but I kept fighting, I kept being aggressive. That's all I can ask for."
The Thunder, which made it to the NBA Finals last season, was eliminated in five games. The top seed in the West went 2-6 after All-Star guard Russell Westbrook had knee surgery two games into the first round.
"I believe in our guys. I'm disappointed we didn't win this series. I felt that we were good enough to win this series," coach Scott Brooks said.
Serge Ibaka had 17 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:26 to play during a desperation comeback attempt for the Thunder. Reggie Jackson's three-pointer finished off the 16-6 rally, cutting the deficit to 86-84 with 14.3 seconds remaining.
Randolph missed both free throws with 11.3 seconds on the clock to give the Thunder one last chance to save their season. Durant got the ball beyond the three-point line on the left wing and navigated around Tony Allen before missing the jumper.
"That's the shot that we wanted. … That's the shot I will live with 100 times out of 100 times," Brooks said.