Found December 28, 2011 on Fox Sports Southwest:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Kevin Durant scored 32 points, James Harden added 20, and the Oklahoma City Thunder remained undefeated with a 98-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Durant, who started the game 1 of 7, made nine of his next 10 before making the clinching free throws with a second left. Kendrick Perkins added 10 for Oklahoma City, but point guard Russell Westbrook had only four points, all on free throws while misfiring on 13 shots from the field. He made a pair with 4 seconds left before Memphis' Zach Randolph connected on a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds remaining to cut it to 96-95. Randolph finished with 24 points, while Rudy Gay scored 19 and Marc Gasol added 16 points. Each had 12 rebounds, as Memphis held a 49-41 advantage on the boards. Jeremy Pargo, filling in for point guard Mike Conley, who aggravated a left ankle injury in the game's early stages, had 15 points and seven assists, while committing only one turnover. The game was an opening season showdown between two of the West's young up-and-coming teams, who met in last season's conference semifinals, won by the Thunder in seven games. And at times the atmosphere had the physical play and intensity of a playoff game. The jostling under the basket was rough, and the reaction of players to calls and no-calls was indicative of postseason play rather than an early contest. Memphis missed its first 12 shots before Randolph made the Grizzlies' first field goal with 4:04 left in the first quarter. Oklahoma City continued to lead through the second quarter despite Durant continuing to misfire until the final minutes of the half. He had 13 at the break, including hitting all six of his free throws. Harden added 10 for the Thunder. Meanwhile, Westbrook missed all five of his first-half shots and didn't record a point. But despite Memphis' poor shooting and the loss of Conley to the ankle injury just over a minute into the game, Oklahoma City's lead at intermission was only 54-49. Pargo continued to pester Westbrook and Memphis put together a 12-6 run to open the second half for the Grizzlies' first lead at 61-60 on Randolph's fadeaway with 6:33 left in third. The teams remained close the rest of the third period with Oklahoma City carrying a 72-70 lead into the final quarter as Durant tallied 10 in the period. Memphis took a 76-75 lead on a 15-foot shot by Randolph with 9:40 left, but Oklahoma City began connecting on 3-pointers to compose a 14-1 run. Daequan Cook had two long-range shots in the rally, while Durant and Harden had one apiece, Harden's giving the Thunder its biggest lead of the game at 89-77 with 5:23 left. The Thunder shot 10 of 25 from outside the arc, while Memphis was only 2 of 16. But Randolph scored six straight Memphis points to whittle away at the Thunder advantage. Gay's 12-foot baseline jumper pulled Memphis within 92-90 with 58 seconds left, but Durant answered with a 15-foot jumper of his own and the Thunder held on. NOTES: Last year's conference semifinals solidified the similarities between the two teams. Durant noted that both are small-market teams with young players in key roles. But Thunder coach Scott Brooks said the seven-game series doesn't translate into a rivalry yet. "Both teams grew up in that series," Brooks said before the game, adding: "I think it's probably too early. In rivalries, it takes years of playoff battles. It's one great playoff battle for sure." While the Thunder won the semifinal playoff series, Memphis was 3-1 against Oklahoma City during the regular season. .Durant has recorded at least 30 points in the first three games, the only player to do that the past two seasons. The Thunder were 24-5 last season when Durant recorded 30 points or more.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Kevin Durant Delivers the Nail, Defeats Mavs 104-102

  Kevin Durant tore down Chesapeake Energy Arena on Thursday night by delivering a solid 30 points, including a game winning 3-point fireball against the Dallas Mavericks in a 104-102 victory. The Thunder let Dallas cut into their 5 point deficit with 46 seconds left, eventually giving up a go ahead 3 point shot via Vince Carter with 1.4 seconds left. That was just enough time...

Thunder edge Grizzlies 98-95 in playoff rematch

Kevin Durant is learning to be patient if he gets off to a bad start shooting. Durant showed the new approach Wednesday night, scoring 32 points, despite missing six of his first seven shots, as the Oklahoma City Thunder remained undefeated with a 98-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. ''You know, I think I'm maturing as a player,'' Durant said. ''...

Kevin Durant hits buzzer beating three to beat the Mavs (Video)

  Just when it looked like the defending NBA Champions, were going to get their first win of the season, Kevin Durant broke their heats. Newly acquired Vince Carter hit a three pointer; on a pass from Dirk Nowitzki to give the Dallas Mavericks a 102-101 lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with 1.4 seconds left. Then Durant stole the show. He hit a 35 foot buzzer beating...

Recap: Memphis vs. Oklahoma City

Kevin Durant scored 32 points and hit a critical jumper down the stretch, as the Thunder shot down the Grizzlies, 98- 95, in a rematch of last season's Western Conference semifinals.

Durant's 32 help Thunder stay unbeaten (AP)

Kevin Durant scored 32 points, James Harden added 20, and the Oklahoma City Thunder remained undefeated with a 98-95 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. Durant, who started the game 1 of 7, made nine of his next 10 before making the clinching free throws with a second left. Kendrick Perkins added 10 for Oklahoma City, but point guard Russell Westbrook had only...

Russell Westbrook-Kevin Durant Altercation Leads to 0-13 Shooting Night

The supposed rift between Oklahoma City stars Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant took another turn on Wednesday night. Oklahoman reporter Darnell Mayberry says Westbrook and Durant got into an altercation on the Thunder bench after players objected to the way Westbrook scolded teammate Thabo Sefolosha. Westbrook was upset that Sefolosha passed on an open shot and cursed at him. Teammates...

Kevin Durant Fights with Russell Westbrook

After the Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated last year in the playoffs, the talk surrounding the team was concerning how well Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could coexist. While Westbrook is a talented point guard, he’s also a player who looks to score first — and that doesn’t mesh well with Durant, who is arguably the NBA’s best scorer. The rocky relationship between...

Grizzlies vs. Thunder preview

By MIKE LIPKASTATS Editor After opening with a lackluster performance against the team they stunned in the playoffs last season, the Memphis Grizzlies now must try to improve versus the club they couldn't overcome. The Grizzlies and the Oklahoma City Thunder square off Wednesday night in Memphis for the first time since their seven-game series last spring as Kevin Durant tries...

Day 5 of 124: Mr. Big Shot

Before you do anything else, head on over and watch the end of the Thunder-Mavs game if you haven’t already. Kevin Durant’s shot is easily the best of the year so far, and probably will be one of the best even after 63 more games. I mean: fade-away three-pointer from about 4 feet behind the line with 1.4 seconds and it barely catches the rim on the way through. That’s just...

Thunder fans give Russell Wesbrook a hand — and he answers back

BY MIKE SHERMAN, Sports Editor, msherman@opubco.comDon't go calling this Thunder season “special,” yet.Even after Kevin Durant's buzzer-beater from somewhere near the Oklahoma River gave the Thunder a 104-102 victory over Dallas, coach Scott Brooks cautioned against it in his postgame news conference.Read more on NewsOK.com

Thunder notebook: Russell Westbrook struggles after altercation with Kevin Durant

BY DARNELL MAYBERRY, Staff Writer, dmayberry@opubco.comOKC THUNDER — Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook appear to argue on bench during a second-quarter timeout.Read more on NewsOK.com

Thunder fans give Russell Westbrook a hand -- and he answers back

Don't go calling this Thunder season "special," yet. Even after Kevin Durant's buzzer-beater from somewhere near...

NBA Power Rankings – Season Starts

Even though the 2011-12 NBA season is less than a week old, we are already seeing the cream starting to rise to the top. Some teams are surprisingly bad, while a number of teams are better than pundits projected. So which ten teams are the best teams in the NBA? Here’s our NBA power rankings: 1. Oklahoma City Thunder Despite some in-fighting between Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.