Oklahoma City - (AP) The Oklahoma City Thunder became familiar with
Memphis' grind-it-out defensive style while losing to the Grizzlies
during last season's NBA playoffs.
On Monday night, the Thunder beat Memphis at its own game.
Kevin Durant had 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Serge
Ibaka had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder
continued their home dominance, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 86-77.
Oklahoma City (39-11) had a 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday
at Washington, but the Thunder moved to 21-3 at home while winning
their seventh straight game at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
In doing so, the Thunder posted its second-best defensive outing of
the season. Oklahoma City's inside quartet of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins,
Steven Adams and Nick Collison combined to limit Memphis' potent
frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol
Meanwhile, Thabo Sefolosha limited Memphis' Courtney Lee - who
scored 24 points in the last meeting between the teams - to 11 points.
Memphis finished 2 of 16 from 3-point range.
''I thought we did a good job of playing tough defensive basketball
throughout the game,'' Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. ''One of
the strengths of our team, obviously, is our versatility. I think
tonight it showed that sometimes you have to play different styles of
basketball to get a win.''
Randolph had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Gasol added 13 points
for Memphis (26-21), which lost for the second time in 13 games. The
Grizzlies had won six straight games, the NBA's longest winning streak
''We didn't play the basketball that we normally play,'' Randolph
said. ''We made bad decisions at important times of the game. There were
a lot of turnovers, including myself, but you've got to be smart. And
we've got to hit shots.''
Coming off a remarkable January during which he averaged 35.9
points per game on 54.9-percent shooting, Durant finished 11 of 21 from
Ibaka went 10 of 17 from the field and posted his 19th
double-double of the season while helping lead the Thunder's interior
defense. Oklahoma City finished with nine blocked shots, four of those
by Adams, a career high for the rookie from New Zealand.