Sports and Scores
 
NBA Basketball
Scoreboard|Stats|Standings|Teams|Players|Player News|Injuries|Transactions

Thunder force Game 7, beat Grizzlies 104-84

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

By TERESA M. WALKER

AP Sports Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Kevin Durant insisted the Thunder facing elimination was all the motivation he needed.

Thanks to the NBA's best scorer, the Thunder remain alive and can finish off the Memphis Grizzlies back in Oklahoma City.

Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump, and the Thunder routed the Grizzlies 104-84 on Thursday night to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series. His performance came on a day where the hometown newspaper questioned his struggles with a headline calling him "Mr. Unreliable."

"We needed to win this game," Durant said. "That's more motivation than anything, so our team responded. We've got to do an even better job in Game 7."

Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven't been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010. They took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter, led by 15 at halftime and never let Memphis get that close again in the second half in the first game in the series that didn't go to overtime since the opener.

"You don't get to his level as an NBA player and a great player as he is to have other people motivate you," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He's self-motivated. He's a tremendous kid and does everything for his team, for our organization. We're proud of him because he gives everything he has. That was the only focus for tonight's game."

Durant also had 10 rebounds and made 14 of 15 free throws. Reggie Jackson had 16 points off the bench for the Thunder, who will host Game 7 on Saturday night.

Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said the Thunder simply wanted the game more and called the loss embarrassing in front of a sellout crowd.

"Now, we've shot ourselves in the foot, and we have to go to a hostile environment now and pretty much show where our heart is at," Allen said.

Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis. Guard Mike Conley strained his right hamstring, briefly returned and left for good with 8:48 left. Conley went down in the third quarter near midcourt dribbling when Kendrick Perkins reached in for a steal. The Memphis guard returned briefly, but Conley was limping noticeably.

With the Thunder in control, Conley went to the locker room again and didn't return.

Nick Calathes currently is suspended for violating the NBA's anti-drug policy, leaving Memphis with only Beno Udrih at point guard. Memphis coach Dave Joerger said Udrih will play a lot of minutes if Conley can't. Conley said he will be re-evaluated Friday and receive as much treatment as possible before tipoff Saturday.

"I plan on playing," Conley said.

Durant had to answer questions after the shootaround Thursday about that headline in The Oklahoman newspaper. Durant said he had no problem with the headline and that he just needed to hit shots and be more aggressive.

Smiling just before tipoff, Durant did just that. The man who led the NBA scoring 32 points a game during the regular season opened by hitting five of his first seven and finished 11 of 23 from the floor. He continued to struggle outside the arc where he missed all six of his attempts.

The Grizzlies had a chance to advance to their third semifinal in four years on their own floor. Yet they couldn't shoot well or match the Thunder's intensity with a sloppy performance in front of a sellout crowd that tried to energize the Grizzlies. Oklahoma City outrebounded Memphis 47-36 and easily outshot them 49.3 percent (37 of 75) to 37.3 percent (31 of 83).

"We knew sooner or later our shots would fall," Brooks said.

Brooks also benched Thabo Sefolosha and started Caron Butler.

"This is why you play the game to prove doubters wrong, and adversity builds character," Butler said. "This team has a strong character and a will."

Memphis last led 6-4. A team that thrives off defense, the Grizzlies couldn't knock down shots even when they managed to get consecutive stops.

The Grizzlies got to 42-37 with 3:08 left on a steal and fast-break layup by Conley. The Thunder finished the half with a 14-4 run for a 56-41 lead. The Grizzlies missed their first six shots to open the third quarter, finishing any hopes of a comeback.

James Johnson scored 15 points off the bench for Memphis, and Allen added 13.

Notes: This will be the second Game 7 between the teams in four years. Oklahoma City beat Memphis in seven in the 2011 conference semifinals. ... The Grizzlies are 4-1 with a chance to close out a series. ... Steven Adams blocked a career-high five shots off the bench for the Thunder.

Updated May 2, 2014

? © 2014 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Audio On Demand

"The Price is Right" with…

"The Price is Right" with WEEI.com's Chris Price, 11-26-14

We find out what Chris Price was right and wrong about when he made a few predictions before the Lions game. Also, we hear some new ones regarding Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

It Is What It Is Cast: What Patriots need to do to leave Lambeau with win

WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia and Chris Price preview Sunday's Patriots-Packers game, one that many are calling a possible Super Bowl preview.

MMQB's Peter King with Dale and Holley

We get our weekly NFL update with SI/MMQB's Peter King. Peter talks AFC East, first round byes, Jonas Gray/LeGarrette Blount and much more.

We Hate Dwayne Wade - Mar…

We Hate Dwayne Wade - Marcus Smart injury 11-12-14

How have the Celtics looked after a couple weeks? Could they be a playoff team? These questions and more...

WHDW - Greg Dickerson Joins the Show to talk Celtics

Sam and Ben talk with Greg Dickerson about how fun this year's Celtics team is to watch as well Jeff Green trade ideas.

Kyle Draper, Comcast Sports New England, Celtics will compete for a playoff spot this season

Kyle Draper joins Danny Picard to talk about the Celtics chances this season in the Eastern Conference, last Wednesday's home opener blowout against the Nets, and Rajon Rondo's future in Boston

Pablo Sandoval, newest Re…

Pablo Sandoval, newest Red Sox third baseman, talks about landing in Boston, 11-25-14

The Red Sox trotted out their newest FA acquisition Tuesday afternoon, third baseman, Pablo Sandoval. The Kung Fu Panda then joined MFB to talk about his conversations with (former) Giant teammate, Jake Peavy, about playing Boston. He also stressed that this move was the next big challenge in his life, and addressed some concerns about his defense, stating that he is focused on being at the hot corner for the duration of his contract.

Buster Olney on MFB: "Sandoval decided, apparently, with two equal offers he wanted to go to Boston," 11-24-14

Buster Olney of ESPN joined MFB to talk about all the free agent news surrounding the Red Sox over the past 24 hours

Brian MacPherson, Providence Journal

Red Sox beat writer Brian MacPherson joins Danny Picard to talk about the Red Sox going after Jon Lester and other free agents.

Andy Brickley, NESN, talk…

Andy Brickley, NESN, talks about the Bruins struggling offense, 11-26-14

Andy Brickley joined the show to talk about David Pastrnak's first game, the offensive struggles, and Milan Lucic playing with the Swedes.

NESN's Jack Edwards with Dale and Holley

Dale and Michael get Jack Edwards' 'state of the B' report and talk about the win over the Blues at the Garden on Tuesday.

Andy Brickley, NESN, talks about the Bruins 2-0 win over St. Louis, 11-19-14

Andy Brickley joined the show and touched on last night's convincing win over a good team, Matt Bartkowski needing a wake up call, and the NHL review process.

The worst Lou Holtz imper…

The worst Lou Holtz impersonation of all time

BC football sideline reporter Scott Mutryn with the worst impersonation of all time.

Ben Cherington on the Sox off-season moves 11-26-14

Ben Cherington joined us to discuss the Sox off-season moves.

John Dennis likes the Packers this Sunday 11-26-14

Dino picked the Pack.

"The Price is Right" with…

"The Price is Right" with WEEI.com's Chris Price, 11-26-14

We find out what Chris Price was right and wrong about when he made a few predictions before the Lions game. Also, we hear some new ones regarding Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

Andy Brickley, NESN, talks about the Bruins struggling offense, 11-26-14

Andy Brickley joined the show to talk about David Pastrnak's first game, the offensive struggles, and Milan Lucic playing with the Swedes.

Three For All - Rick Pitino "We played 4 white guys and an Egyptian," 11-26-14

Rick Pitino had some curious comments after a blowout victory. Richard Sherman takes on the NFL Media policies. Christian talks about a pill for farts.

Peter King: Pats in drive…

Peter King: Pats in driver's seat for home field in the AFC

We get our weekly NFL update with SI/MMQB's Peter King. Peter talks AFC East, first round byes, Jonas Gray/LeGarrette Blount and much more.

Dale and Holley's Four at Four - MLB Hall of Fame Ballot Edition - 11-25-14

Dale and Michael give their four selections for the MLB Hall of Fame... this year's finalists were announced today.

Scrimmage scuffle: testiness at Bruins practice might have been overblown (with DJ Bean!)

Dale and Michael talk Bruins and discuss the supposed practice scuffle between Tuukka Rask and Soderberg, and DJ Bean dials us up to give his thoughts.

Freakin' Out - Mikey Song

Freakin' Out - Mikey Song

Mikey remixes Billy Joel "Movin Out" in honor of the Patriots playing the Green Bay Packers

Brandon Alisoglu gives us an analysis of the Lions

Brandon covers the NFL, particularly the Detroit Lions for Bleacher Report. He gives us his thoughts on this Sunday's game and how the Lions stack up against the Patriots.

Cold, Hard Football Talk

Mikey, Villani, Lenny and Kerry Byrne are talking Patriots-Lions and how the team this year stacks up to Patriots teams of the past.

D&C Breaking Balls: Media…

D&C Breaking Balls: Media tweet beefs on evolution 11-24-14

The guys previewed the upcoming Packers Patriots game and discussed the media's latest tweet beef.

UnSportsManLike Podcast - 30 for 30 Ideas 11-21-14

Jerry Thornton's first podcast explores sports stories that would make for interesting 30 for 30 documentaries.

College Puckcast with Andy Merritt and Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy

Andy Merritt of the New England Hockey Journal joined WEEI.com’s Scott McLaughlin to talk about the play of Vermont and Providence, as well as other happenings around Hockey East. Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy also joined the show to talk about his team’s good start, his freshman class and how he uses possession stats.

Ben Cherington on the Sox…

Ben Cherington on the Sox off-season moves 11-26-14

Ben Cherington joined us to discuss the Sox off-season moves.

More from this show

Riots in Ferguson 11-25-1…

Riots in Ferguson 11-25-14

The guys discussed the Riots in Ferguson.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Tedy Bruschi: That was Be…

Tedy Bruschi: That was Belichick serving Jonas Gray up a big slice of Humble Pie

Former Patriot Tedy Bruschi, now an analyst for ESPN joined Dale and Holley for a breakdown of the Patriots win over the Lions, and a look-ahead to next Sunday night's showdown in Green Bay.

More from this show

Headlines, Headlines, Hea…

Headlines, Headlines, Headlines: A crazy night in Ferguson 11-2514

The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.

More from this show

Weei Writers