Facing him for the second time in five days, the Oklahoma City Thunder still couldn't come up with a remedy for Zach Randolph.
So the Thunder stopped everyone else.
In doing so, Oklahoma City avenged Tuesday's five-point loss to Memphis with a 109-100 win on Saturday.
Round two saw the Thunder play tougher and more physical against the bigger Grizzlies, who bullied OKC in the first meeting. After getting out-rebounded 42-31 — and 12-3 on the offensive end — earlier this week, the Thunder did a much better job of controlling Memphis in the paint. The Thunder won Saturday's rebounding game 47-40 and shut off the Grizzlies completely in the fourth quarter with a 15-10 rebounding edge.
Through three quarters, Memphis had outscored OKC 18-8 in second-chance points. In the final period, the Thunder held the Grizzlies to three second-chance points.
Eight of the nine Thunder players that saw action Saturday pulled down at least four rebounds.
“I thought all of our bigs did a good job of battling and staying focused,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Defensively, we were good tonight.”
The Thunder's defensive effort against Randolph was visibly better than it was when it allowed the Grizzlies' power forward to score 31 points with 16 rebounds Tuesday. Still, Randolph bulldozed his way to 27 points and 16 rebounds. Nine of his rebounds came on the offensive end, which had kept the Grizzlies hanging around most of the night.
“Zach Randolph is a monster down there,” said Kevin Durant. “He played well tonight, but I think we made it a little tougher on him. We didn't give him those easy baskets like he got last game. He had to work for everything. He's an All-Star, so you know he's going to make tough shots. And he did tonight.”
The Thunder reverted to its scrappy team defense to limit Randolph's teammates. Grizzlies leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 20 points but needed 18 shots and saw only five points come in the second half. Memphis point guard Mike Conley had 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting. Center Marc Gasol, who had 10 points and 10 rebounds Tuesday, scored just six points with seven rebounds. And guard O.J. Mayo scored just 11 points on 5-for-17 shooting.
Former Oklahoma State guard Tony Allen, who torched the Thunder with a season-high 19 points in the first meeting, scored just nine points Saturday.
“We just tried to keep those guys in check,” Durant said. “They're tough. We can't stop them (Randolph and Gay). But I think we did a good job of bringing group effort.”
Offensively, the Thunder was more opportunistic all night. OKC turned 13 Memphis turnovers into 22 points. Memphis scored just 11 points off 18 Thunder turnovers.
Durant and Russell Westbrook did the rest.
Durant scored a game-high 40 points with a team-high eight rebounds and four assists. Durant had 18 points in the third quarter, making five of eight shots while going 7-for-7 from the foul line. Westbrook had 10 points and four assists in the third period before finishing with 22 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and a career-high tying three blocks.
The Thunder also made more free throws (35 of 42) than the Grizzlies attempted (19 of 30).
“Give them credit,” Allen said. “They are a very good team at home and the better team won tonight.”