The Memphis Grizzlies are reprised last year's playoff clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, Jan. 14, and the result was similar. In Marc Gasol's return from a 23-game absence with a sprained knee, the Grizz battled to the buzzer and emerged with a 90-87 win.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 37 points. Courtney Lee sparkled and turned in a season-high 24 points in his fourth game with the Grizzlies after being traded from the Boston Celtics.
OKC rim-protector Serge Ibaka just missed a double-double with 11 points, nine boards and four blocks. Zach Randolph notched his 21st double-double in 28 games with 23 and 13. Gasol finished with 12 points, four rebounds and one assist. He did not block a shot, but he drastically altered Reggie Jackson's layup attempt in the waning moments.
On the strength of a potent second quarter, the Thunder took a 47-43 lead at halftime. The Grizz stormed back in the third quarter and pushed Oklahoma City's shooters to the perimeter. Memphis' physical defense helped force 19 turnovers, and they were able to limit the speedy Thunder to 12 fast-break points.
The Grizzlies (18-19) will go for .500 against the league-worst 7-30 Milwaukee Bucks on Jan. 15. The Thunder (28-10) have now dropped three straight on the road, and next they visit the Houston Rockets on Jan. 16.