Thunder jolt Grizzlies to snap slideNov 30, 2008 - 4:32 AM By L. Jason Smith PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- With both teams riding season-long losing streaks, something had to give Saturday when the Oklahoma City Thunder took on the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.
In a battle of last-place teams, Kevin Durant scored a team-high 30 points and Jeff Green had 22 as the Thunder snapped a franchise-record 14-game losing streak with a 111-103 road victory.
It was Thunder's first victory since November 2, when they knocked off the Minnesota Timberwolves, 88-85, to pick up their only other win this season.
"I am happy for our guys, I'm happy for our fans and I'm happy for myself and the staff," said Oklahoma City interim coach Scott Brooks, who picked up his first coaching victory in five games since taking over for P.J. Carlesimo.
"We have all hung in there together. It hasn't been the easiest ride, but I'm proud of the way we have hung together."
Oklahoma City rookie guard Russell Westbrook added 12 points and Damien Wilkins and Desmond Mason each had 11 apiece in extending Memphis' season-long losing streak to six games.
"Obviously, it was a tough loss," Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni said. "They lost 14 in a row and they were hungry. ... They did a great job in the fourth quarter."
After trailing, 80-76, to start the fourth, the Thunder cut Memphis' lead to one point on five different occasions over the first five minutes of the period, but failed to take the lead until Green nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to give Oklahoma City a 97-96 advantage with 4:29 left.
Green's dunk with 1:44 left made it 103-100 before Mason gave the Thunder a five-point advantage with a half-hook shot in the lane.
"Everybody chipped in and everybody played defense," said Durant, who connected on 14-of-16 free throws and 8-of-16 shot attempts. "Then Jeff hit two big threes and Desmond hit a hook in the lane to put us up by five."
Rookie guard O.J. Mayo's 30 points led three Grizzlies in double figures. Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol each had 16.
"It hurt us to lose this game because it felt like we were in control," Memphis point guard Mike Conley said. "We knew that they could score points, but we thought we did a good job against them in the first half."
Memphis, a loser in 10 of its last 11 contests, made eight of its first 11 shots to start the game. Mayo and Gasol combined for 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting in the first quarter, helping the Grizzlies to a 28-22 lead after one.
The Grizzlies' first-half lead grew to 42-28 midway through the second quarter, when reserve center Darko Milicic converted a hook shot in the lane to cap an 8-0 Memphis scoring run.
Oklahoma City finished 42.5 percent (17-of-40) from the field in the first half, while Memphis was a much more efficient 63.6 percent (21-of-33) to lead 54-43 at halftime.
"The only difference (in the second half) was our defense was a lot better. We played better team 'D,'" Green said. "We went out with the same game plan we've had. This time we just had a little more effort."
OKLAHOMA CITY 111
MEMPHIS 103 FINAL
Nov 29 10:24 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 76
MEMPHIS 80 END, 3RD QTR
Nov 29 9:50 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 43
MEMPHIS 54 HALFTIME
Nov 29 9:06 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 22
MEMPHIS 28 END, 1ST QTR
Nov 29 8:36 PM
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