Back On Track: Durant's Big Night Leads Thunder Past Grizzlies
The Thunder has had its share of trouble with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Including last season's 4-1 playoff-series loss and a split in their first two matchups this year, Oklahoma City entered Monday night having lost five of its past seven against the pesky Grizzlies.
Kevin Durant made sure that trend didn't continue.
KD started a new 30-point game streak, dropping 31 to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists as the Thunder cruised past Memphis 86-77 at Chesapeake Arena.
Serge Ibaka also brought his A game for the Thunder. Ibaka, going up against the NBA's top front line in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, showed off his new-and-improved mid-range jumper time and time again. Ibaka finished with 21 points on 10-17 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Ibaka's defense also held Gasol to just 13 points and three rebounds. Randolph also scored 13 to go with his 13 boards.
Courtney Lee and Mike Miller each scored 11 for Memphis and were the only other Grizzlies to finish with double figures.
The Thunder dominated the second quarter, outscoring Memphis 31-18 to take a 51-36 lead at the half. The Grizzlies attempted to climb back in it in the third, outscoring OKC by seven, but the lead was never in serious jeopardy.
The Grizzlies played without Mike Conley and Tony Allen and it showed. Nick Calathes and Lee combined for 19 points on just 7-21 shooting. Memphis as a whole shot 39.5 percent from the floor and a woeful 2-16 from downtown.
"I thought we did a good job of playing tough, defensive basketball throughout the game," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "One of the strengths of our team is versatility. I think tonight it showed, sometimes you have to play different styles of basketball to get a win.
OKC played most of the game at Memphis' preferred pace, a slow, grind-it-out type game. Despite that, the Thunder outrebounded the Grizzlies 44-35 and recorded nine blocks to Memphis' four.
"Obviously Memphis does a great job of playing halfcourt basketball," Brooks added. "On the road, we won small (lineup). I thought tonight we did a good job of winning big. When you play teams in this league, you gotta be able to play different ways."
The Thunder once again ran into Memphis without Russell Westbrook. This marked the seventh time in the teams' past eight matchups that Westbrook hasn't played. OKC improved to 1-2 against the Grizzlies this season, with the other two meetings coming in Memphis.
Oklahoma City improved to 39-11 on the season and hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.