OKC Thunder: Kevin Durant scores 37 points, but Memphis tops Thunder

by Darnell Mayberry Published: January 14, 2014

“We had a lot of good open looks,” said Brooks, who's beginning to sound like a broken record with that refrain. “We are going to have to step up and make some shots.”

Reggie Jackson scored 17 for the Thunder, and Ibaka finished with 11 points and nine rebounds. Outside of those two and Durant, the rest of the Thunder's roster went a combined 7-for-26 from the field and 1-for-10 from 3-point range.

“We just got to knock them in,” Durant said. “I'm not worried about the shots.”

Lee, the Grizzlies' recently-acquired guard, scored a team-high 24 points, and Zach Randolph added 23 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. Conley chipped in 19 points with a game-high seven assists and just one turnover for Memphis, which won its third straight and fourth in the past five.

The Grizzlies also got 12 points, four rebounds and 24 minutes out of center Marc Gasol, who played in his first game since Nov. 22 after missing the past 23 with a MCL sprain.

But unlike the last two road trips, the Thunder was competitive throughout much of Tuesday's contest.

“We did a good job, taking away the first quarter,” Brooks said.

The Thunder again came out flat for the first period, struggling to score at one end or close out possessions with defensive rebounds at the other. The mix was too much to overcome early, and one game after scoring a season-low 14 first-quarter points, the Thunder was outscored 24-16 in the opening quarter.

Memphis made OKC miserable with its ability to dominate on the glass. The Grizzlies ended the quarter on a rare 15-3 rebounding run, which allowed Memphis to open a 12-point, first-quarter lead, its largest of the night. Thanks to their eight offensive rebounds, the Grizzlies attempted 12 more shots than the Thunder in the period and outscored OKC, 9-3, on second-chance points.

But things quickly turned around for the Thunder in the second period, as OKC started the quarter on a 6-0 run that balloned to an 11-1 spurt. Gasol ended the rally by splitting a pair of free throws with 8:37 remaining. By then, though, the Thunder had captured momentum.

Durant found his touch, scoring 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting in the period, and Jackson bounced back from a brutal first quarter by chipping in nine points in the second period. OKC outscored Memphis, 31-19, in the quarter to take a 47-43 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Grizzlies responded with a counterpunch in the third quarter, outscoring the Thunder, 29-20, in the frame, which was capped by an off-balanced 3 from Lee that gave Memphis a 72-67 lead as time expired.

The Thunder never trailed by more than seven in the final period after impressively responding to each huge shot or stop Memphis mustered. Still, any talk of a better showing on the road being encouraging was quickly balked at by players inside a glum visiting locker room.

“It's no moral victories,” Durant said, “We're (ticked) off we lost the game. We had a chance to win it, no matter who was on the court. It's a tough loss for us.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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