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Durant, Westbrook Bury Memphis To End Losing Skid

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The defensive woes are far from eliminated but Oklahoma City is back in the win column.

After a stellar first-half defensive showing from the Thunder, the Grizzlies erupted in the fourth quarter and OKC needed late heroics from Kevin Durant to end the Thunder's three-game skid with a 113-107 victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Oklahoma City dominated the majority of the contest and held a 16-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, but Memphis hit its first 11 shots of the fourth and Mike Miller scored all of his team-high 19 points in the final period, eventually climbing within 105-102 with 2:29 remaining.

Then KD did what he does best, slamming the door on the Grizzlies' comeback efforts.

Durant scored six-straight points to give OKC a two-possession lead with 22 seconds reaming, which proved to be enough to hold off a surging Grizzly team that had won five out of six.

As good as Memphis was late, Durant was better. He had seven points on 2-of-9 shooting at halftime, but as the Grizzlies warmed up, so did No. 35. He scored 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting in the second half to help OKC top Memphis for the third time in four meetings this season.

And Durant was far from the only bright spot for the Thunder (44-15) on Friday.

Russell Westbrook had unquestionably his best game since returning to the lineup with 21 points, six assists and three steals on 7-of-12 shooting. Perhaps even better than his stat line was how he looked amassing it. He played with reckless abandon, he drilled pull-up jumpers off the run and he got to the free-throw line, where he converted 6-of-7 opportunities.

Reggie Jackson also returned to form with 14 points off the bench, while Serge Ibaka added 16 points and nine rebounds on 7-of-11 shooting.

Westbrook and Ibaka also played a pivotal role in jump starting a dominant first-half outing for the Thunder defense.

In its three-game losing streak, Oklahoma City had allowed 114 points per game, 20.7 fast-break points and 50.8 percent shooting. In the first half, OKC limited Memphis to 37.5 percent shooting, four fast-break points  and the Grizz were on pace for just 84 points.

Obviously the tides turned from that point, but it was a glimmer of hope for a struggling defense moving forward.

Memphis torched OKC for 65 second-half points and shot a symmetrical 65 percent from the field (26-of-40), but the Thunder came up with key plays late to earn the victory and stay a game and a half ahead of San Antonio in the Western Conference standings.

OKC finished with 49.4 percent shooting and hit 10-of-22 from the 3-point line. Oklahoma City also had a decided scoring edge from the free-throw line, hitting 27-of-32, outscoring Memphis by 12 at the line.

Miller's team-best 19 points came on 7-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3, to lead Memphis (32-25) off the bench. Marc Gasol led the starting unit with 17 points, while Zach Randolph added 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Thunder stays at The Peake for game No. 5 in its six-game home stand when it hosts Charlotte at 6 p.m. on Sunday.


NOTE: Thabo Sefolosha played only four minutes before leaving with a calf strain. He did not return.

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