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Bench leads OKC to even series, 1-1

May 4, 2011

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— Kevin Durant scored 26 points, James Harden led an outburst by Oklahoma City’s bench with 21, and the Thunder evened their series with Memphis by beating the Grizzlies, 111-102, in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

After scoring just 16 points in a Game 1 loss, the Thunder’s bench tripled that amount and put Oklahoma City firmly in control with an 18-6 run to start the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook scored 24 and his backup, Eric Maynor, added 15 for the Thunder.

Mike Conley scored 24 for Memphis, which cut a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit to six in the final minute.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Memphis.

Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined to make just five of 22 shots for 28 points — just over half their total from the opener. The interior tandem helped Memphis dominate the paint for 52 points in Game 1, but the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies, 38-34, this time by deploying frequent double-teams.

The Thunder finally shook free from Memphis with the bench’s big run, featuring three three-pointers by Maynor and seven points from Harden.

Harden hit three free throws — including one after Darrell Arthur was called for a technical for bumping him in retaliation — then turned a steal into a fast-break layup. Maynor’s third three gave Oklahoma City its first 20-point lead at 94-74 with 7:27 remaining, and Daequan Cook followed about a minute later with another three to bump the lead to 21.

When Maynor and Cook finally were pulled in favor of Durant and Westbrook with just under 5 minutes left, the pair got a standing ovation.

Memphis tried to mount a comeback, though, with Conley hitting two three-pointers and converting a three-point play. Tony Allen’s two free throws got the Grizzlies as close as they’d get at 104-98 with 46 seconds left, following a 19-5 rally.

The Thunder lost starting power forward Serge Ibaka — who blocked the most shots in the NBA in the regular season — to an apparent right leg injury with 2:09 remaining in the game. He hobbled to the locker room after fouling Conley and crashing to the floor along the baseline.

Ibaka had been late out of the locker room at halftime after hurting his knee late in the first half, but rode a stationary bike in a tunnel before returning to the game in the third.

Randolph, the star of Game 1 with a playoff career-high 34 points, made only two of his 13 shots and scored 15 points. Gasol was 3-for-9 for 13 points and also hauled in 10 rebounds. Randolph had nine boards.

The Grizzlies shot 44 percent and couldn’t find enough firepower to counter after the Thunder hit their first four three-pointers in the flurry to start the fourth quarter.

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