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Thunder seek commanding lead over Grizzlies

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The Sports Network
4/21/2014 11:42:02 AM
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The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series on Monday night when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Thunder earned the Game 1 win with a 100-86 victory Saturday night.

Oklahoma City dominated the first half and led by 22 at the break, but saw its lead shrink to just two points in the fourth quarter. The Thunder pulled away late once the defensive intensity picked up on the OKC end.

"In the third quarter, our defense wasn't as aggressive, but give them credit. They came out when they were down a big number, they came out better," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. "We didn't get the stops in the third that allowed us to play at our pace, but we responded and had a very good fourth quarter."

Kevin Durant finished with 33 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the Thunder. Durant scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting over the final 12 minutes.

Russell Westbrook added 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists and Serge Ibaka had 17 points, nine rebounds and four blocks in the win.

Zach Randolph paced the Grizzlies with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Mike Conley and Marc Gasol finished with 16 points apiece. Conley added 11 assists in the setback.

"It was an interesting game. They came out with a lot of force like we anticipated. They played with a lot of force, went to the rim and got out in transition," said Grizzlies coach David Joerger. "We did a good job managing our turnovers, but to allow them to get 21 points on fastbreak points is just way too many for us."

Memphis scored the first six points of the third and had the lead to single digits, 60-51, following Tony Allen's three-point play with 7:17 remaining in the third.

A pair of Ibaka free throws just over a minute later pushed the Thunder's spread back to 11, but the Grizzlies scored six straight to make it 64-59 with 3:49 to go.

The teams traded baskets and OKC took an eight-point edge, but Randolph's layup in the closing seconds of the third made it 69-65 entering the final frame.

Mike Miller's first points of the game came with 8:46 when he nailed the 3- pointer that made it a two-point game.

Durant then drew in a trio of defenders as he slashed to the hoop and dropped the ball off to Ibaka, who slammed it home as he was fouled. Ibaka sank the free throw and OKC went 3-for-4 from the free throw line to make it 80-72.

Durant nailed a cold-blooded trey with 7:16 left to open a 10-point lead and the Grizzlies never got within single digits the rest of the way.

"We never broke, we did a great job staying together," Westbrook said.

The Thunder outscored the Grizzlies 32-13 in transition, despite forcing just six turnovers. OKC was 28-for-32 from the free throw line while Memphis finished a hideous 18-for-31 from the charity stripe. Memphis won the battle of the paint, 50-34, but was outrebounded 51-41.

Grizzlies starting forward Tayshaun Prince played just under five minutes on Saturday due to illness. He is expected to be back in the starting lineup on Monday.

Game 3 is scheduled for Thursday night in Memphis.

Kevin Durant (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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