For the first 24 minutes, the Memphis Grizzlies had America contemplating heading to bed early in hopes of being fully rested for Easter morning. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook nearly outscored the Grizz as a team (33 to 34) and they didn’t hit their first basket outside the paint until two seconds remained before intermission. All the makings of a blowout were in place.
Then, Memphis and Oklahoma City switched bodies in the third quarter and what was once a 25-point lead turned into a single digit ball game. Tony Allen’s defense flustered Durant and Westbrook went to the bench for an extended stay. A Mike Miller trey ball cut it to two in the fourth before Zach Randolph picked up his fifth foul. From there, the bottom fell out for Memphis. OKC’s defense tightened up and Durant awoke in MVP-caliber fashion, finishing with 33 points, eight boards and seven dimes, en route to a 100-86 victory.*
Game 2: Mon. April 21, Memphis at Oklahoma City, 8 p.m., TNT
* – Per tradition, missing 12 free throws and getting outscored 32-13 on fast break points normally results in L’s.