A dominant 6 1/2-minute stretch to end the second quarter created the cushion, as the Thunder closed the period on a 20-4 run. Durant scored or assisted on 15 of the Thunder's points during the late push.
But the Thunder's defense also was dialed in, holding the Grizzlies without a field goal for the final 6:26 of the period.
“That was the first time and probably the only time tonight that we played our basketball,” Brooks said. “Stops and run. Stops and run. Get a good shot on offense.”
Memphis went 0-for-9 with three turnovers during that stretch. Six of the Grizzlies' nine misses came within six feet, illustrating how in sync the Thunder was even when Memphis got into the teeth of its defense.
The second half simply was about the Thunder preserving what it had built. And Memphis would make that tough.
But OKC held off Memphis rallies twice in the second half, once in the third quarter and once in the fourth when the Grizzlies pulled within three. Lee scored on a driving layup to cut the margin to 78-75 with 4:54 remaining, but the Thunder responded with an impressive 7-0 run to bump the lead back to 10.
Durant made a pullup jumper, Sefolosha hit an open 3-pointer that came by way of textbook ball movement and Durant intercepted a pass and drove the length of the floor for a finger roll.
In the final 4 1/2 minutes, OKC held Memphis to 0-for-7 shooting while forcing the Grizzlies into four turnovers.
“We definitely wanted to bounce back,” Sefolosha said, “and that's what we did tonight.”