Oklahoma City • Kevin Durant scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-86 on Saturday night in the opening game of their first-round series.
Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Serge Ibaka added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Thunder, who nearly squandered a 25-point lead but recovered from a dismal third quarter to make 10 of 16 shots in the fourth.
Zach Randolph led Memphis with 21 points and 11 rebounds, but he made just seven of 21 shots and got into foul trouble in the second half. Mike Conley had 16 points and 11 assists, Mark Gasol scored 16 points and Tony Allen added 13 points for the Grizzlies. The Thunder held Memphis to 36 percent shooting.
Oklahoma City was the only home team to win on the first day of the postseason.
Game 2 will be played Monday night in Oklahoma City.
Memphis had whittled Oklahoma City’s lead down to three early in the fourth before a powerful drive and jam by Caron Butler brought life back to the nervous arena and gave the Thunder a 74-69 lead with just under nine minutes to play. Memphis’ Mike Miller came back with a 3-pointer to make it a two-point game, but the Thunder responded with a 13-1 run to regain control.
The Thunder pushed the pace to take an 8-0 lead, and Memphis called a timeout less than three minutes into the game. Conley finally scored Memphis’ first point at the 9:04 mark after the Grizzlies missed their first five shots.
The Thunder led 29-16 at the end of the first period. Oklahoma City shot 52 percent in the first 12 minutes while holding the Grizzlies to 17 percent shooting. Randolph shot 2 of 11 in the opening period.
Oklahoma City continued the onslaught into the second quarter. A dunk and a 3-pointer by Durant pushed the lead to 45-24. Late in the first half, Ibaka chased Allen down and stuffed his layup attempt, then Ibaka dunked on the other end to give Oklahoma City a 52-30 lead. Durant scored 17 points in the first half and Westbrook had 16 points and eight rebounds to help the Thunder take a 56-34 lead into the locker room.
Memphis scored the first six points of the second half, and though Oklahoma City quickly called a timeout, the Grizzlies continued their surge. A three-point play by Allen trimmed the Thunder’s lead to 60-51, and by the end of the third quarter, Memphis had cut its deficit to 69-65. Allen scored nine points in the third quarter, and Randolph scored eight. Memphis held Oklahoma City to 13 points and 3-for-16 shooting in the period.
NOTES: Saturday was the 19-year anniversary of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City. The crowd observed a moment of silence before tip-off. ... Memphis reserve point guard Nick Calathes has been suspended for 20 games for violating the NBA’s anti-drug policy, starting Saturday. The league said Friday night in a release that Calathes tested positive for tamoxifen. "It is what it is," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger said before the game. "We’ve dealt with adversity all season." ... Thunder rookie Steven Adams blocked three shots in the first quarter in just 1:26. The Thunder blocked five shots in the period. ... Allen was issued a technical foul with 2:40 left in the second quarter. ... The Grizzlies shot 25 percent in the first half. ... Westbrook and Durant shot a combined 1 for 9 in the third quarter.
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