OKLAHOMA CITY —
Durant posted 34 points in the loss. Russell Westbrook chipped in with 17 points, 13 assists and six boards.
Oklahoma City’s bench was outscored 31-13. Kevin Martin was held to seven points on only four shots.
“We don’t want to go into a game and only give him four shots,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “He’s too good of a scorer and too good of a guy who can move without the ball.”
Thabo Sefolosha sparked the Thunder early with a couple of 3-pointers as they took a 10-point lead in the first quarter. But Memphis slowly closed the gap in the second period. Even though it wasn’t shooting well from the field, it was able to claw its way back and tied the game at 36-36 with 6:35 left in the first half.
Memphis outscored Oklahoma City 36-15 in the second quarter.
Coming out of halftime, Memphis didn’t let up as Randolph began to exert himself. That included grabbing a rebound over Perkins and putting it back up. He did the same thing the next time down the court as the Grizzlies found themselves leading 65-49.
The intensity picked up in the period as the teams exchanged verbal shots and several staredowns after each basket. This seemed to get Oklahoma City going, and it was able to close the gap to 81-71 heading into the fourth.
“The second quarter, they just went on a tear,” Durant said. “They made a lot of tough shots tonight. Tough, contested 2s. That’s what we hang our hat on, making them shoot tough shots. We dug ourselves a hole, and it’s tough to fight back.”
Michael KinneyFollow me @firstname.lastname@example.org