Memphis at Oklahoma City

Durant, Green fuel Thunder to OT victory against Grizzlies

CBSSports.com wire reports
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OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder never would have had to go to overtime if Kevin Durant hadn't fumbled the ball away in the closing seconds of regulation.

Given five extra minutes, he did everything he could to make up for it.

Durant scored 35 points and led the way as the Thunder recovered after blowing a late 12-point lead to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 114-102 in overtime Wednesday night.

Durant started the Thunder's 14-0 run to close the game with a jumper from the right wing and added a two-handed jam off of Russell Westbrook's missed layup and four free throws as Oklahoma City pulled away.

Durant also blocked O.J. Mayo's layup to set the tone for a defense that didn't give up a basket after the opening possession of overtime.

"I just wanted to continue to be aggressive in that situation and hopefully shots would go down for me. I'm going to continue to be that way, and hopefully I'll win some games off of it," Durant said.

Jeff Green added 23 points on a career-high five 3-pointers, Westbrook scored 16 points, and Chucky Atkins had 10 in only his second game since joining the Thunder in a trade three weeks ago.

Rudy Gay finished with 25 points to lead Memphis, which lost its 11th consecutive game and fell to 0-2 under new coach Lionel Hollins. Mayo scored 17 points, and Mike Conley and Marc Gasol added 15 apiece for Memphis. Conley also had a career-high nine assists.

Durant had the ball with the shot clock dwindling in the final 20 seconds of regulation when he tried to find his way to the basket from the right sideline. Conley came away with the steal and launched a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Gay put back his miss as time expired to tie the game at 100 and force overtime.

It was the final basket in a flurry that saw the Grizzlies score the final six points in regulation and overcome a 94-82 lead in the final 4:56.

"He's 20 years old and he understands that there's going to be times when he makes the shot or he takes the shot and there's going to be times when he has to pass the ball, and he's learning that as we go into the season," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

Gay drove past Green along the left baseline on Memphis' opening possession of overtime, but the Grizzlies then missed their last eight shots of the game.

"We came through in overtime. Our defense was spectacular," Green said. "We allowed two points in five minutes. That's great. If we can continue to play like that on the defensive end, we can win a lot more games."

After starting the season with a league-worst 3-29 record, the Thunder have been playing above .500 ball since New Year's Eve and moved past Washington earlier this week to get out of the basement. Combined with Sacramento's loss at Boston, Oklahoma City no longer has the worst record in the Western Conference.

The Thunder also pulled even with Memphis with 11 victories on the season, and the Clippers -- who had 10 victories -- were playing later Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies had an offensive breakthrough after failing to score more than 91 points in any of their previous 10 losses.

Memphis made 15 of its first 18 shots and raced out to an early 14-point lead during a 37-point first quarter, its highest-scoring period of the season, but couldn't keep up that pace and eventually fell behind.

Atkins and a line of reserves helped Oklahoma City rally back and take the lead in the final minute before halftime. Green then sparked a 12-1 run when he hit his career-best fifth 3-pointer midway through the third quarter, and his jumper made it 81-81 after three quarters.

The Thunder looked as though they had put the game away when Westbrook stole a pass and streaked downcourt for a two-handed jam, but he was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim and Memphis immediately started its comeback.

After Mayo hit the free throw off Westbrook's technical, Gay came back with a dunk of his own and Gasol added a three-point play off a tip-in to help the Grizzlies inch closer. Then Mayo, who shot only 4-for-15 from the field, made the comeback realistic by scoring six consecutive points from the free-throw line to cut the deficit to 98-94 with 1:59 remaining.

It still wasn't enough as Memphis lost its eighth straight on the road. The Grizzlies are 1-15 in their past 16 road games, with the only victory coming in Oklahoma City.

Desmond Mason, Oklahoma City's starting forward, had to be helped to the locker room by two teammates after hyperextending his right knee while coming back down after blocking a layup by Kyle Lowry during the Thunder's third-quarter run. He did not return.

Notes

  • Durant and Green were chosen to play for the sophomore team in the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend next month, while Westbrook will play on the rookie team alongside Mayo and Gasol.
  • Hollins said the NBA had downgraded a flagrant foul called against Lowry on Tuesday night in Denver to simply a personal foul.
  • The Grizzlies' previous scoring high in a single period was 36 in the second quarter of a 108-105 victory at Indiana on Dec. 26.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
 
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Jeff Green (career-high five 3s) helps the Thunder avoid a blown opportunity against Memphis.  (AP)
Jeff Green (career-high five 3s) helps the Thunder avoid a blown opportunity against Memphis. (AP)

Scoreboard
Memphis (11-34) 372014292102
Oklahoma City (11-35) «2432251914114
MEM:R. Gay 25 Pts
MEM:R. Gay 8 Reb
MEM:M. Conley 9 Ast
OKC:K. Durant 35 Pts
OKC:K. Durant 10 Reb
OKC:K. Durant 6 Ast
Players of the Game
Oklahoma CityMemphis

K. Durant

R. Gay
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
351062581
Memphis
R. Gay, SG4711-230-081525
O. Mayo, SG464-157-752517
M. Gasol, C446-83-351315
M. Conley, PG406-132-459115
D. Arthur, PF373-80-08136
H. Warrick, PF162-52-43136
K. Lowry, SG133-91-11108
Q. Ross, SF121-20-02033
D. Miles, SF91-25-61107
G. Buckner, SG10-00-00000
M. Jaric, SFDid Not Play
D. Milicic, PFDid Not Play
H. Haddadi, CDid Not Play
Totals 37-8520-25381723102
 43.5%80.0% 
Oklahoma City
K. Durant, SF4914-236-8106335
J. Green, SF429-160-194423
R. Westbrook, PG347-142-225216
N. Collison, C283-32-49058
D. Mason, SF231-41-21203
E. Watson, PG343-80-02506
N. Krstic, C253-83-48129
C. Atkins, PG153-72-212010
C. Wilcox, PF151-32-65014
J. Smith, PFDid Not Play
R. Swift, CDid Not Play
D. Wilkins, SGDid Not Play
M. Sene, CDid Not Play
K. Weaver, SGDid Not Play
D. White, PFDid Not Play
Totals 44-8618-29472517114
 51.2%62.1% 
Other Games
Mil 99 Final
Ind 107
Sac 100 Final
Bos 119
Wash 71 Final
Mia 93
Tor 107 Final
NJ 106
Atl 104 Final
NY 112
Den 81 Final
NO 94
Det 98 Final
Min 89
Phi 95 Final
Hou 93
GS 93 Final
Dal 117
Char 74 Final
Port 88
Chi 95 Final
LAC 75