OKLAHOMA CITY — Forward Kevin Durant scored 33 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 120-109 Game 7 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The victory advances the Thunder into the Western Conference semifinals where they will play the winner of Saturday night’s Los Angeles Clippers-Golden State Warriors game. This is the fourth straight season the Thunder have made it to the semifinals.
After fighting through a hard-nosed Memphis defense for six games, Durant torched the Grizzlies in the winner-take all contest. He shot 12-for-18 to go with eight rebounds and five turnovers.
Guard Russell Westbrook was just as electric posting 27 points ,10 rebounds and a career-high 16 assists. It’s his second triple double of the postseason. In only his second game as a starter, forward Caron Butler added 15 points.
Playing without their leading scorer, the Grizzlies went to center Marc Gasol to carry them. He led the team with 24 points, but was held to two rebounds. He made only one field goal after the first period. Guard Mike Conley chipped in with 20 points and nine assists, despite playing on a bad hamstring.
NOTES: Oklahoma City C Steven Adams was caught off guard by the news of Memphis F Zach Randolph being suspended for Game 7 after punching Adams in Game 6. “Yeah, I just thought it was an off-ball foul and carried on playing,” Adams said. “I was just trying to focus on what play we had called, my mind’s really slow sometimes and doesn’t process stuff straight away, so that helps. I was surprised that he got taken out, I’m a big fan of his to be honest with you because he’s real smart with how he plays. So it’s unfortunate.” … Memphis F Tony Allen woke up Saturday with swelling in his eye, the result of Thunder F Caron Butler scratching him in Game 6. He didn’t participate in shoot-around. … Memphis coach Dave Joerger broke protocol and didn’t hand in a starting lineup until minutes before tip-off. He kept it a secret that Allen and G Mike Miller would start in place of Randolph and F Tayshaun Prince. … Thunder coach Scott Brooks was asked if coming back to beat the San Antonio Spurs two years ago after being down 0-2 prepared his team for any type of adversity. “Our guys have been through a lot of things together,” Brooks said. “Good times. A lot of tough times. But they’ve always stuck together and that’s so important. I’m not saying they get along every single. They don’t. I’ve never been on a team that does. If you have a happy team you probably don’t have a very good team that really cares.”
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