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Sunday, Feb. 5, 2012

Thunder top Grizzlies behind Durant's 36


OKLAHOMA CITY — The Memphis Grizzlies know the team they are chasing to reach the top of the Western Conference.

News photo
Ancient rivalry renewed: Boston's Rajon Rondo drives past New York's Carmelo Anthony in the second quarter on Friday night. The Celtics beat the Knicks 91-89. AP

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder keep finding ways to stay one step ahead.

Durant scored 36 points and hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer in the final minute to lift the Thunder to a 101-94 victory against Memphis on Friday night in a rematch of their epic Western Conference semifinals series.

One of those games went to triple overtime and another was settled after one extra period.

This one came right down to the wire, too, before Durant scored the final seven points.

"Those guys are the guys that we need to be like, from start to finish," Grizzlies forward Tony Allen said.

Durant answered Mike Conley's tying 3-pointer by pulling up in front of Rudy Gay for his own 3 from the right wing with 53 seconds left. He added a jumper from the foul line to push the lead to five, then closed out the game by grabbing the rebound on O.J. Mayo's 3-point attempt and hitting two free throws after getting fouled.

"The 3s I was shooting looked good but I was missing," said Durant, who had missed all five of his previous 3-point attempts.

"It was just a matter of time before one was going to go down for me. . ."

James Harden scored 10 of his 24 points during Oklahoma City's fourth-quarter rally.

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 24 points and Gay scored 23.

Harden engineered a comeback, hitting two 3s and driving for two layups during a 15-4 burst to start the fourth quarter.

But the Grizzlies had an answer and were able to claw back and tie it on Conley's 3-pointer from the right side with 1:12 remaining — only for Durant to deliver the knockout punch.

Celtics 91, Knicks 89

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 30 points and Ray Allen had nine of his 14 in the final quarter to lift the Celtics over struggling New York.

Kevin Garnett finished with 15 points and eight boards for Boston, which won for the seventh time in eight games.

Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points, for the struggling Knicks.

Garnett grabbed his 10,000th career defensive rebound, becoming the third player in NBA history to reach the mark. He's behind Robert Parish (10,117) and Karl Malone (11,406). The NBA didn't keep track of defensive rebounds until the 1973-74 season.

Heat 99, 76ers 79

In Philadelphia, Dwyane Wade scored 26 points, and LeBron James had 19 points and 12 rebounds to lift Miami to a win over the 76ers.

Pacers 98, Mavericks 87

In Dallas, Paul George hit seven 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 30 points, and Indiana won in Dallas for the first time in eight years.

Lakers 93, Nuggets 89

In Denver, Andrew Bynum scored 22 points, Kobe Bryant added 20 and Los Angeles opened a season-high six-game trip with a victory over the weary Nuggets.

Magic 102, Cavaliers 94

In Orlando, Dwight Howard scored 19 points, had 16 rebounds and blocked eight shots as the Magic outlasted Cleveland.

Timberwolves 108, Nets 105

In Newark, New Jersey, Luke Ridnour made the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:23 left and Nikola Pekovic scored a career-high 27 points as Minnesota beat the hosts.

The Timberwolves overcame a career-high 42 points from Anthony Morrow.

Pistons 88, Bucks 80

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, rookie Brandon Knight scored a season-high 26 points, holding his own against Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings and helping Detroit snap a seven-game slide.

Raptors 106, Wizards 89

In Toronto, Leandro Barbosa shook off flulike symptoms to score 19 points as the hosts beat Washington.

Rockets 99, Suns 81

In Houston, Kevin Martin scored 16 points, and Kyle Lowry had eight rebounds and nine assists to lead the Rockets.

Note: A recap of Saturday's bj-league games is posted on The Japan Times' website.

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