When the Memphis Grizzlies rolled into town, they came carrying the NBA's best record since Dec. 21.
But with their floor general, Mike Conley, sidelined with a sprained ankle, the mission became much clearer and much more manageable for the Thunder.
Don't have another letdown.
Kevin Durant did everything he could to make sure that didn't happen.
After a disappointing 15-point loss Saturday at Washington, the Thunder bounced back with much better energy and effort in an 86-77 win over Memphis on Monday inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Durant led the way with a game-high 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, setting the example he said he needed to following Saturday's loss. Seven of Durant's helpers were to Serge Ibaka, who added 21 points and a game-high 12 rebounds to complement Durant on the offensive end. Reggie Jackson chipped in 12 points, as the Thunder won for the 11th time in 12 games.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol each scored 13 points to lead the Grizzlies. Both were held below their scoring averages thanks to an outstanding low-post defensive effort that began with Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins but also boosted by Nick Collison and Steven Adams off the bench. Gasol and Randolph combined to go 11 of 26 from the floor.
Thabo Sefolosha, meanwhile, slowed Courtney Lee, who led the Grizzlies with 24 points in the last meeting between the two teams, a three-point Memphis win. Lee and Mike Miller had 11 points apiece.
“I thought we did a good job of playing tough, defensive basketball throughout the game,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “One of the strengths of our team obviously is our versatility. I think tonight showed sometimes we have to play different styles of basketball to get a win … On the road, we went small. Tonight, I thought we did a good job of winning big.”