Thunder win in OT, hand Grizzlies 11th straight loss

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder never would have had to go to overtime if Kevin Durant hadn't fumbled the ball away in the closing seconds of regulation.

Given five extra minutes, he did everything he could to make up for it.

Durant scored 35 points and led the way as the Thunder recovered after blowing a late 12-point lead to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 114-102 in overtime Wednesday night.

Durant started the Thunder's 14-0 run to close the game with a jumper from the right wing and added a two-handed jam off of Russell Westbrook's missed layup and four free throws as Oklahoma City pulled away.

Durant also blocked O.J. Mayo's layup to set the tone for a defense that didn't give up a basket after the opening possession of overtime.

"I just wanted to continue to be aggressive in that situation and hopefully shots would go down for me. I'm going to continue to be that way, and hopefully I'll win some games off of it," Durant said.

Jeff Green added 23 points on a career-high five 3-pointers, Westbrook scored 16 points and Chucky Atkins had 10 in only his second game since joining the Thunder in a trade three weeks ago.

Rudy Gay finished with 25 points to lead Memphis, which lost its 11th straight game and fell to 0-2 under new coach Lionel Hollins. Mayo scored 17 points, and Mike Conley and Marc Gasol added 15 apiece for Memphis. Conley also had a career-high nine assists.

Durant had the ball with the shot clock dwindling in the final 20 seconds of regulation when he tried to find his way to the basket from the right sideline. Conley came away with the steal and launched a 3-pointer from the left wing, and Gay put back his miss as time expired to tie the game at 100 and force overtime.

It was the final basket in a flurry that saw the Grizzlies score the final six points in regulation and overcome a 94-82 lead in the final 4:56.

"He's 20 years old and he understands that there's going to be times when he makes the shot or he takes the shot and there's going to be times when he has to pass the ball, and he's learning that as we go into the season," coach Scott Brooks said.

Gay drove past Green along the left baseline on Memphis' opening possession of overtime, but the Grizzlies then missed their last eight shots of the game.

"We came through in overtime. Our defense was spectacular," Green said. "We allowed two points in five minutes. That's great. If we can continue to play like that on the defensive end, we can win a lot more games."

After starting the season with a league-worst 3-29 record, the Thunder have been playing above .500 ball since New Year's Eve and moved past Washington earlier this week to get out of the basement. Combined with Sacramento's loss at Boston, Oklahoma City no longer has the worst record in the Western Conference.

The Thunder also pulled even with Memphis with 11 wins, and the Clippers -- who had 10 wins -- were playing later Wednesday night.

Memphis made 15 of its first 18 shots and raced out to an early 14-point lead during a 37-point first quarter, its highest-scoring period of the season, but couldn't keep up that pace and eventually fell behind.

"We are taking a step in a better direction," Conley said. "We felt last game that we did a lot of good things and in this game we took a leap forward in a lot of different areas, and we just need to put it all together."

The Thunder looked as though they had put the game away when Westbrook stole a pass and streaked downcourt for a two-handed jam, but he was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim and Memphis immediately started its comeback.

After Mayo hit the free throw off of Westbrook's technical, Gay came back with a dunk of his own and Gasol added a three-point play off of a tip-in to help the Grizzlies inch closer. Then Mayo made the comeback realistic by scoring six straight points from the free-throw line to cut it to 98-94 with 1:59 remaining.

It still wasn't enough as Memphis lost its eighth straight on the road. The Grizzlies are 1-15 in their last 16 road games, with the only win coming in Oklahoma City.

Desmond Mason, Oklahoma City's starting forward, had to be helped to the locker room by two teammates after hyperextending his right knee in the third quarter run. He did not return.

Game notes
Durant and Green were chosen to play for the sophomore team in the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend next month, while Westbrook will play on the rookie team alongside Mayo and Gasol. ... Hollins said the NBA had downgraded a flagrant foul called against Lowry on Tuesday night in Denver to simply a personal foul.


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