OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma City Thunder became familiar with Memphis’ grind-it-out defensive style while losing to the Grizzlies during last season’s NBA playoffs.
On Monday night, the Thunder beat Memphis at its own game.
Kevin Durant had 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder continued their home dominance, beating the Memphis Grizzlies 86-77.
Oklahoma City (39-11) had a 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday at Washington, but the Thunder moved to 21-3 at home while winning their seventh straight game at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
In doing so, the Thunder posted its second-best defensive outing of the season. Oklahoma City’s inside quartet of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams and Nick Collison combined to limit Memphis’ potent frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol
Meanwhile, Thabo Sefolosha limited Memphis’ Courtney Lee - who scored 24 points in the last meeting between the teams - to 11 points. Memphis finished 2 of 16 from 3-point range.
“I thought we did a good job of playing tough defensive basketball throughout the game,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “One of the strengths of our team, obviously, is our versatility. I think tonight it showed that sometimes you have to play different styles of basketball to get a win.”
Randolph had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Gasol added 13 points for Memphis (26-21), which lost for the second time in 13 games. The Grizzlies had won six straight games, the NBA’s longest winning streak entering Monday.
“We didn’t play the basketball that we normally play,” Randolph said. “We made bad decisions at important times of the game. There were a lot of turnovers, including myself, but you’ve got to be smart. And we’ve got to hit shots.”
Coming off a remarkable January during which he averaged 35.9 points per game on 54.9-percent shooting, Durant finished 11 of 21 from the field.
Ibaka went 10 of 17 from the field and posted his 19th double-double of the season while helping lead the Thunder’s interior defense. Oklahoma City finished with nine blocked shots, four of those by Adams, a career high for the rookie from New Zealand.
Memphis, which trailed by 17 points late in the first half, pulled within three points three times in the final 6:45, the last time at 78-75 after Lee’s driving 5-foot jumper with 4:54 left.
Durant answered with a 14-foot jumper, then after an exchange of empty possessions, Sefolosha swished a 3-pointer and Durant followed with a steal and layup to give Oklahoma City an 85-75 cushion with 2:54 left.
“That gave us a boost when he hit that shot,” Durant said.