NBA News Wire

Thunder 113, Grizzlies 107

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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OKLAHOMA CITY — Forward Kevin Durant scored 30 of his game-high 37 points in the second half to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder past the Memphis Grizzlies 113-107 on Friday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The win ended a three-game losing streak for the Thunder. But it did not come easy.

After a slow start, Durant scored 17 points in the third quarter to help the Thunder go up 87-71 heading into the fourth quarter.

However, guard Mike Miller came off the bench for the Grizzlies (32-25) and helped cut the lead to six points with 4:22 left in the game. He was not only knocking down 3-pointers but was taking his defenders off the dribble.

With guard Thabo Sefolosha straining his left calf in the first half, the Thunder (44-15) brought in Perry Jones III to match up with Miller.

The Grizzlies cut it to four with 3:33 left. After Miller missed a layup that would have trimmed the deficit to two, Durant made them pay with a step-back jumper.

Memphis forward James Johnson answered with a 3-pointer to make the score 105-102. After a miss by Thunder guard Reggie Jackson, Durant was called for a technical during a timeout. However, Miller missed the ensuing foul shot.

The Grizzlies went to center Marc Gasol in the paint with Durant guarding him. Gasol missed a shot and Durant responded by knocking down a corner jumper to push the Oklahoma City advantage to five.

The Thunder came up with a defensive stop and Durant hit another midrange jumper over Gasol’s outstretched arms with 33 seconds left to put the game out of reach.

Thunder guard Russell Westbrook scored 21 points in 29 minutes. He also racked up six assists and three steals. Forward Serge Ibaka added 16 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots.

Miller led the Grizzlies with 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field. That included 4 of 5 from behind the arc.

Memphis forward Zach Randolph had 13 points and 10 rebounds but did not play during much of the fourth quarter. Gasol finished with 17 points.

NOTES: It was reported that the veteran forward Caron Butler agreed to sign with Oklahoma City after the Milwaukee Bucks bought out his contract on Thursday. Butler will not clear waivers until Saturday, so the Thunder had no official comment. Yet F Kevin Durant gave his impression of Butler. “Tough, tough player, that’s why they call him Tough Juice, I guess,” Durant said. “He plays hard and from I’ve seen he’s a team-first guy and he’s a long, strong defender, so he could do a lot for us.” … Grizzlies G Courtney Lee talked about why he has been able to thrive in Memphis offense. “The majority of our sets is to get it down low and bang it in the paint,” Lee said. “They are more than willing passers. So I just need to be ready to shoot.” … Before the game, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks did not put much stock in the stat that only two NBA champions have ever lost four straight games at any point during the regular season. “You can probably find a bunch of different things in every season,” Brooks said. “No team that’s won 82 games either has ever won a championship. I’m not sure. You might want to look at the numbers.” … Memphis coach Dave Joerger has complained about the PA system volume at Thunder games. “We got on the plane last time and every one of our people were just, like, their ears were ringing,” Joerger said. “You don’t get that in other places. The music’s awfully loud. It just is what it is. We’re all people. We all have a work environment. If I cannot communicate yelling at the top of my lungs from you to me away no matter where it is, it’s too loud, in my opinion.”

Alan is an expert gambling writer who works as one of the chief editors for Basketball Insiders. He has been covering online gambling and sports betting for over 8 years, having written for the likes of Sportlens,, The Sports Daily, 90min, and His particular specialisms include US online casinos and gambling regulations, and soccer and basketball betting. Based in London, Alan holds an MA in English Literature and is a passionate supporter of Chelsea FC.

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