The Oklahoma City Thunder will try to successfully defend their home-court and take a 2-0 series lead Tuesday night when they tangle with the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder took Game 1 of the series, 93-91, at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
After trailing much of the game and even by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant led the charge for OKC. He tallied 12 in the final frame alone and his 19-foot jumper with 11.1 seconds left lifted the Thunder to the Game 1 victory.
"They have such a great team defense, I just wanted to get up the floor as quick as possible and find a shot," said Durant. "That was the only shot I could find and by the grace of God, it went in."
Durant posted 35 points and 15 rebounds, both of which were game highs. Kevin Martin had a great afternoon as well with 25 points off the bench thanks to 3- for-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Reggie Jackson, starting for the injured Russell Westbrook, was the only other Thunder player in double digits with 12.
The unsung hero for the Thunder in Game 1 was the big-man combination of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. The two did a relatively good job of containing Memphis' bigs, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Ibaka and Perkins, who played very few minutes in OKC's first-round series against the Houston Rockets, limited the Grizzlies' duo to a combined 38 points and 20 rebounds.
"Good teams aren't good unless they have players that understand their roles," Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. "And that's everybody -- even your best players -- they have to understand their roles. The good thing I like about our team is everybody's role is to defend."
Defense is Memphis' calling card. The Grizzlies did hold the third-leading scoring team in the NBA during the regular season 12 points under their average.
"We had opportunities, we just didn't execute as well offensively or defensively," said Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins.
Randolph and Gasol paced the Grizzlies. Mike Conley chipped in 13, as did Quincy Pondexter off the bench. Jerryd Bayless also had a good night as a reserve with 10 points.
Sunday's effort was solid and the Grizzlies' performance was actually very good. Sometimes, good offense can actually trump good defense, contrary to any popular mantras you hear.
"Kevin Durant's a great player and he got going to make some good shots," said Hollins. "Talk about whatever you want to talk about, but he made those shots. That last one was a great play. They were down one and he made that shot to put them up one. Not everybody is making that shot at that particular point."
Now, Memphis will try to avoid falling down 0-2. The Grizzlies have won three of their last six in OKC.
Game 3 will be Saturday evening in Memphis.