Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant and Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were named conference players of the month for December.
Durant averaged a league-high 29.4 points as the Thunder went 11-5 for the month, tops in the Northwest Division. Durant shot 51.7 percent from the field, 41.1 percent from 3-point range and 85.0 from the free-throw line. On Christmas Day, he had a season-high 44 points, seven rebounds, two blocks and two steals in a 114-106 victory against Denver.
James (25.2 ppg, 7.9 rpg and 6.8 apg) and Wade (27.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg and 4.1 apg) helped the Heat to a league-best 15-1 record in December.
MAYNOR, MULLENS MISS PRACTICE MONDAY
Thunder backup point guard Eric Maynor did not practice Monday due to a right mid-foot sprain he suffered in the fourth quarter of Saturday night's 101-74 loss at San Antonio. He is listed day-to-day.
If Maynor is not available for Tuesday night's game at Memphis, Royal Ivey will serve as the backup to starter Russell Westbrook.Reserve center Byron Mullens also did not practice Monday due to a stomach virus and was not on the team charter to Memphis. He will rejoin the team if his health improves.
Tuesday night will be the first regular-season game between Memphis (15-19) and the Thunder (23-12). In a preseason contest at the BOK Center in Tulsa on Oct. 12, the Grizzlies led wire-to-wire, won 116-96 and built a 39-point lead late in the third quarter.
Memphis finished 8-0 in the preseason and was projected by many as a potential playoff team.
“They're athletic,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “They have multiple bigs who can defend the paint. They've got some scorers on the wings in (Rudy) Gay and O.J. (Mayo) and their point guard (Mike Conley) is really good. Their record is probably not where they would like it to be, but they're a good team. They beat the Lakers (104-85 in LA on Sunday) as easily as any team has beaten the Lakers. They took it to ‘em. They've got a talented group. Their starting five is as talented as any in the league.”
Brooks described Memphis All-Star center Zach Randolph as “an offensive rebounding machine (4.3 per game). He's a mid-range shooting machine. He can score. He has kind of an awkward game and you think none of his shots are going to go up, but they always go in. He does it to the league, not just us. Defensively, we're going to get challenged.”
FORGET THE ALAMO
Asked if it's possible to forget such a monumental loss as the one in San Antonio, Brooks said, “For players, yes. That's definitely the case. There are a lot of bad losses that you just forget and come back the next day and have a good practice. Coaches don't forget. You're always concerned about why it happened, or figuring out why it happened and how can you prevent it from happening again. So you don't forget, but you have to move on to the next game.”
The Thunder is 10-1 after a loss this season and is coming off the embarrassing loss to the Spurs.
After Memphis, the Thunder plays at Dallas on Thursday and returns home to face the Grizzlies again Saturday.
“We've got to play better,” Brooks said. “We didn't give ourselves a chance to win offensively (against San Antonio). We just gave up so many opportunities … The numbers were just ugly. The efficiency level was very poor.”
THUNDER AT GRIZZLIES
When: 7 p.m.
Where: FedEx Forum.
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.
THREE THINGS TO KNOW
This is the first of four meetings between the two teams. The Thunder will welcome the Grizzlies to Oklahoma City for the second meeting on Saturday.
The Thunder is 10-1 after a loss.
Memphis forces opponents into 17.4 turnovers per game, the most in the league.
Pos., Player, Ht., Pts., Reb., Ast
G, Russell Westbrook, 6-3, 21.9, 4.9, 7.9
G, Thabo Sefolosha, 6-7, 5.7, 5.2, 1.6
F, Kevin Durant, 6-9, 27.9, 6.3, 3.0
F, Jeff Green, 6-9, 15.7, 5.8, 2.0
C, Nenad Krstic, 7-0, 7.7, 4.5, 0.5
G, Mike Conley, 6-1, 13.7, 3.1, 7.0
G, Tony Allen, 6-4, 5.3, 2.0, 1.1
F, Rudy Gay, 6-8, 20.9, 6.1, 2.7
F, Zach Randolph, 6-9, 18.9, 12.5, 1.7
C, Marc Gasol, 7-1, 11.7, 7.3, 2.8