Kevin Durant returns, leads Thunder past Grizzlies
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Kevin Durant had 26 points and a season-high 17 rebounds after missing the previous game with a sprained right big toe, and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 112-94 on Wednesday night.
Durant, who began the day as the NBA’s No. 3 scorer, broke loose for 17 points in the second half on 7-for-8 shooting. He played 33 minutes and appeared to have no problems with mobility.
Russell Westbrook added 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder, who bounced back from Monday’s loss to Sacramento without Durant.
Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley sat out with a sore left Achilles. Memphis coach Dave Joerger said before the game he didn’t know how long Conley, the team’s No. 2 scorer, would be out.
Mario Chalmers led the Grizzlies with 23 points.
Matt Barnes scored 13 and Zach Randolph added 12 for Memphis, which shot just 39 percent. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored the starters 55-39.
The Thunder led 56-36 at halftime, the fewest points they have allowed in a first half this season. Oklahoma City held Memphis to 29.8 percent shooting before the break.
The Thunder took control early, despite Durant shooting just 2 of 10 in the first half. Westbrook had 16 points, six assists and five rebounds in the first two quarters.
Durant scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the third to keep the Thunder in control. Memphis cut Oklahoma City’s lead to 15 before Durant hit a 3-pointer and scored on a putback to push the advantage back to 20.
Grizzlies: Barnes played his second game since a two-game suspension for his part in a physical altercation with Knicks coach Derek Fisher. … Tony Allen, who took the starting slot vacated by Conley, scored eight points. … Memphis’ starters shot a combined 7 of 28 in the first half. … JaMychal Green was issued a technical foul in the fourth quarter. … Vince Carter, 38, threw down a dunk in the final minute and drew a nice cheer from the crowd.
Thunder: Wore their sunset orange alternate jerseys. … Held Grizzlies to 29 percent shooting in the first quarter. … Bench shot a combined 8 for 10 from the field in the first half.
The Grizzlies host the Nuggets on Friday.
The Thunder are at the Lakers on Friday.