Published November 20, 2014
The Thunder make a quick stop back in Oklahoma City searching for their sixth straight win tonight in the Sooner State when they play host to the Memphis Grizzlies.
OKC, which has an NBA-best 17-4 record, is in the middle of a tough stretch in which it will play eight of nine on the road. The Thunder opened the string on the West Coast by winning at Golden State before suffering a hiccup in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
Kevin Durant and Company rebounded from that loss on Wednesday by taking a 95-86 decision over the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks. Russell Westbrook finished with 33 points, including six in the final two minutes, in that one as the Thunder escaped American Airlines Center with the victory.
Kevin Durant, who was named a Western Conference All-Star starter on Thursday, totaled 23 points and 13 rebounds, while Serge Ibaka blocked a franchise record 10 shots and pulled down 11 boards for Oklahoma City, which will hit the road again for a five-game trek after tonight's contest. James Harden posted 10 points and a game-high nine assists.
"We're doing a better job of closing out games. You saw that tonight," Westbrook said. "Everybody did a great job of coming out and doing their roles."
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, are coming off a really impressive 96-77 rout of the Hawks in Atlanta on Thursday behind Rudy Gay, who led all scorers with 21 points and added six rebounds.
Memphis finished with five players in double figures, including 18-point efforts from O.J. Mayo and Tony Allen. The Grizzlies also got a double-double from Marc Gasol, whose 11-point, 10-rebound performance helped Memphis garner its second win in a row after dropping four straight.
"It doesn't matter how many times you've lost in an arena, each game is different," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said about the Grizzlies' previous struggles in Atlanta, where they hadn't won since 2005, a span of five games. "Even though there's a few guys that are still here that hadn't won here, it's still a different group and most of the guys didn't even know we hadn't won here."
OKC, which topped Memphis in a tough seven-game series during last year's West semifinals, has already bested the Grizzlies twice this season in Memphis.