Thunder fights off Grizzlies
OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant scored 33 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 120-109 on Saturday night in Game 7 of their first-round Western Conference playoff series.
Westbrook had 27 points, 16 assists and 10 rebounds. His assist total tied the franchise record for a playoff game set in 1987 by Nate McMillan when the team was still in Seattle.
Durant looked like his usual self after struggling against Memphis’ rugged defense for much of the series. The regular-season scoring champion made 12 of 18 field goals and all five of his 3-pointers after struggling from long range throughout the series.
“I got out of my own way,” he said. “I was thinking too much. I was worrying about what you guys (the media) were saying. I was worrying about what shots I was going to shoot throughout a game. I was thinking too much, and the game of basketball is played off of instincts.
“I just released everything and enjoyed myself. And I knew if I just put the work in for my team, the results would show.”
The gritty Grizzlies, playing without leading scorer Zach Randolph because of a suspension, led by 11 points in the first half before the Thunder overwhelmed them and shot 66 percent after the break.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 24 points. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley had 20 points and nine assists while playing with a strained right hamstring.
It was Westbrook’s second triple-double in the past three games. He made 10 of 16 shots from the field, both of his 3-pointers and five of his six free throws.
Durant, slowed for much of the series, looked like his normal self. The regular-season scoring champion made 12 of 18 field goals and all five of his 3-pointers after struggling from long range throughout the series.
Guards Tony Allen and Mike Miller started for the first time in the series in place of Randolph and Tayshaun Prince, and the Grizzlies beat the Thunder at their fast-paced game in the first quarter. Memphis shot 60 percent in the opening period to take a 36-27 lead.
Oklahoma City chipped away in the second quarter, and the Thunder finally took a 51-50 lead on a 3-pointer by Durant.
Durant hit another 3-pointer with 3.7 seconds left to give the Thunder a 61-58 lead at the break. He scored 21 points in the first half and Westbrook had 13 points and eight assists.
Gasol scored 15 points in the first half, but he and Allen both had three fouls at the break.
The Thunder opened the second half on a 10-2 run. Durant hit a 3-pointer to give Oklahoma City a 71-60 lead. Durant hit another 3 that gave Oklahoma City a 78-63 advantage and led to a Memphis timeout.
Back-to-back 3s by Derek Fisher and Westbrook and a breakaway dunk by Caron Butler gave the Thunder a 92-76 lead, and Oklahoma City took a 94-81 edge into the fourth quarter.
Notes: Allen sustained an eye injury Thursday in Game 6, but played anyway. He scored 15 points in 36 minutes. … During the morning shootaround, Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger wouldn’t comment on the NBA’s decision to suspend Randolph for punching Thunder center Steven Adams in the jaw late in Game 6. Adams got a loud ovation when he entered the game in the first quarter.
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