But Memphis manhandled the Thunder inside, scoring 54 points in the paint and winning the offensive-rebounding game, 12-3. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph had 31 points and 16 rebounds, both game highs, and helped Memphis outscore OKC 18-8 in second-chance points.
“Zach's a good player,” said Jeff Green, who matched up against Randolph much of the night and was held without a rebound while being limited to eight points on 1-for-5 shooting in 41 minutes. “He's been doing it all year. It's not just tonight that he got off.”
Another strange sighting was the Thunder walking off the court on the wrong end of a close game. OKC fell to 12-3 in games decided by five points or less and uncharacteristically failed to capitalize on a major missed opportunity inside the final 30 seconds.
Memphis center Marc Gasol missed two free throws and a chance to put Memphis up five with 25.2 seconds left. Russell Westbrook made a layup at the other end to pull the Thunder within 106-105 with 16 seconds remaining. Westbrook immediately fouled Grizzlies guard Tony Allen on the inbounds, and Allen made both free throws to put Memphis back ahead by three.
Following a timeout, Durant caught an inbounds pass and launched a 31-foot 3-pointer that missed badly. Randolph secured the rebound and iced the game with a pair of free throws. Durant said he launched the heave because he thought the Grizzlies would foul to prevent a game-tying 3-pointer.
“It's going to be tough for me to sleep tonight,” Durant said.