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February 1, 2013

On-court spat doesn’t keep Thunder from beating Griz

OKLAHOMA CITY — The last time Memphis paid Oklahoma City a visit, most of the drama took place between the opposing teams.

But Thursday, with the Grizzlies back in town, it was the Thunder who provided all the fireworks on and off the court.

Oklahoma City (35-11) rolled to a 106-89 victory and improved to 20-3 at home. But it was an on-the-court eruption between Thunder guards Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha that became the topic of discussion after the game.

“It wasn’t nothing that hasn’t happened before with all of our guys,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “It was nothing for us. We are an emotional group. Our guys are always playing with a competitive spirit. That’s what makes us a very good team for the last three or four years.”

After the game, Westbrook wasn’t in the mood to rehash what happened on the court or his reaction to the benching, which included him flipping his chair over and storming into the tunnel leading to the locker room.

“Nothing got me upset,” Westbrook said. “Just miscommunication. I control my temper like a man, like I did.”

Memphis, playing in its first game since trading Rudy Gay to Toronto, seemed to still be in the shock of not having their former leading scorer on the team anymore. It wasn’t until the second half that they began to play somewhat like their old selves as they cut a 26 point deficit to 11 in the fourth.

But that was as close as Kevin Durant and Kevin Martin would let the Grizz (29-16) get. They combined to score 10 points in the fourth to push the lead back to 20 before both teams cleared their benches.

Durant led all scorers with 27 points on 10-for-16 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and six assists. Westbrook added 21 points and nine rebounds while Martin and Nick Collison came off the bench to score 13 and 12 points, respectively.

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