Kevin Durant Awakens in Second Half And Leads OKC Thunder Over Zach Randolph And The Memphis Grizzlies 98-95
The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder picked up right where they left off in last season’s Western Conference Semis. Kevin Durant shook off a 1 for 7 first half to score on 9 of his next 10 attempts to finish with 32 points, as he and James Harden (20 points) were able to hold off the stubborn Memphis Grizzlies 98-95. Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 24 points and 12 rebounds.
In the history of this budding rivalry the teams entered tonight’s game even at 11 wins each, including the playoffs.
What Happened: The Thunder jumped out to an early lead despite Durant, Harden and Westbrook going 1 for 11 in the first quarter. The Grizzlies lost starting point guard Mike Conley in the opening moments of the game with an ankle injury and did not score their first field goal until 4:04 in the 1st quarter. The Grizzlies were able to go on a 9-3 run to close the gap to 23-20 after one, rookie Jeremy Pargo was able to step in nicely for Conley finishing with 15 points 7 assists and 2 steals. Russell Westbrook’s night was not as productive going 0-13, finishing with 4 points, 6 assists and 4 turnovers.
Just when it seemed as if the Thunder would blow the game open, the Grizzlies clawed back into the game, surviving a 14-1 run midway through the 4th quarter. The Grizzlies front court of Marc Gasol (16 points 12 rebounds), Gay (19 points 12 rebounds) and Zach Randolph combined for 59 points and 36 rebounds and 4 blocked shots.
Gay and Randolph took turns dueling with Durant as the Grizzlies would close to within a single possession on several occasions, even taking a brief lead early in the 4th quarter. Randolph even knocked down a three with 1.8 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one before two Durant free throws sealed the victory for the visitors.
There was an altercation between Durant and Westbrook. It’s outlined here.
What’s Next: OKC hosts Dallas tomorrow night and Memphis hosts Houston on Friday.