OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder became familiar with Memphis’ grind-it-out defensive style while losing to the Grizzlies during last season’s playoffs.
On Monday night, the Thunder beat Memphis at its own game.
Kevin Durant contributed 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Serge Ibaka had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Thunder defeated the Grizzlies 86-77.
Oklahoma City (39-11) had a 10-game winning streak snapped Saturday at Washington, but the Thunder moved to 21-3 at home while winning its seventh straight game at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
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In doing so, the Thunder posted its second-best defensive outing of the season. Oklahoma City’s inside quartet of Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins, Steven Adams and Nick Collison combined to limit Memphis’ potent frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
“I thought we did a good job of playing tough defensive basketball throughout the game,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. “One of the strengths of our team, obviously, is our versatility.”
Randolph had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Gasol added 13 points for Memphis (26-21), which lost for the second time in 13 games. The Grizzlies had won six straight, the NBA’s longest winning streak entering Monday.
“We made bad decisions at important times of the game,” Randolph said.
Nuggets prevail in thriller
DENVER – Randy Foye made a 30-foot three-pointer at the buzzer, and the Denver Nuggets overcame a 36-point performance by Blake Griffin to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-115.
Kenneth Faried had a career-high 28 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who denied the Clippers their sixth victory in seven games.
Ty Lawson, who missed the previous four games with a shoulder injury, added 27 points for Denver.
Jamal Crawford, a graduate of Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, scored 19 points for the Clippers.
• LeBron James was two rebounds short of his first triple-double this season, and Miami won for the fifth time in six games when it beat visiting Detroit 102-96.
James had 24 points and 11 assists and Dwyane Wade scored 30 points on 13-for-19 shooting.
• Danny Granger scored 16 points to help league-leading Indiana roll past visiting Orlando 98-79.
• Paul Pierce scored 25 points, Deron Williams added 21 and the host Brooklyn Nets halted a three-game losing streak by beating Philadelphia 108-102. Tony Wroten Jr., a former Washington Husky, had 18 points for the 76ers.
• John Wall scored 22 points and Washington beat visiting Portland 100-90 to rise to 24-23, the first time the Wizards have been above .500 since 2009.
Damian Lillard scored 25 points for the Trail Blazers.
• Brandon Knight made a three-pointer with 1.4 seconds left and finished with 25 points as host Milwaukee snapped a six-game losing streak by beating the New York Knicks 101-98.
• Toronto scored 13 of the game’s final 16 points to win 94-79 at Utah, which got 23 points from Marvin Williams of Bremerton.