OKLAHOMA CITY: Kevin Durant scored 33 points on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to lead Oklahoma City to a 100-86 triumph over Memphis in game one of their NBA Western Conference playoff series.
Durant connected on five of six shots from the field as he delivered 13 points in the fourth quarter, when the Thunder thwarted the Grizzlies’ comeback bid and took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Oklahoma City had dominated the first half and led by 22 at halftime.
But their lead dwindled to just two points, 74-72, after Mike Miller’s three-pointer with 8:46 left in the game.
Durant—front-runner for the league’s Most Valuable Player award—found Serge Ibaka under the basket for a three-point play on the other end to spark a 13-1 scoring run that let the Thunder rebuild a more comfortable cushion.
“I just wanted to be aggressive,” Durant said. “They hit us pretty hard in that third quarter, so we needed some points.”
Russell Westbrook added 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and Ibaka had 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the win.
Zach Randolph led the Grizzlies with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol finished with 16 points apiece.
It’s the third time in four seasons that the Thunder and Grizzlies are meeting in the playoffs.
Oklahoma City ousted Memphis in the second round following the 2010-11 season, but the Grizzlies eliminated the Thunder in the Western Conference semi-finals last season.
While the Thunder were able to hold off a Memphis team that nearly turned the tide with a 31-13 scoring edge in the third quarter, the Los Angeles Clippers couldn’t do the same against the Golden State Warriors.