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Grizzlies silence Thunder, 107-97

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Rudy Gay scored a season-high 28 points, Zach Randolph added 20 points and 11 rebounds before getting ejected along with Oklahoma City's Kendrick Perkins during a late-game altercation and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Thunder 107-97 on Wednesday night.

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Marc Gasol chipped in 14 points as the Grizzlies continued the best start in franchise history by winning their sixth straight game. They took control by outscoring Oklahoma City by 21 in the second quarter, and never gave it up.

Kevin Durant scored a season-high 34 points and Russell Westbrook had 17 points and 13 assists as both Oklahoma City All-Stars logged more than 42 minutes for the second straight game while trying to lead a fourth-quarter comeback.

This time it fell short as the Thunder had their five-game winning streak snapped.

The Grizzlies went to their twin towers inside with Oklahoma City threatening to come back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter for the second straight game. Coach Lionel Hollins called for a timeout after Perkins' two-handed slam got the Thunder within 97-89 with 4:18 to play.

He sent his team back out with Gasol isolated against Perkins, and Gasol twisted his way in for a layup. After a missed jumper by Serge Ibaka at the other end, Gasol set up Randolph for a layup off a designed play.

After a pair of empty trips by both teams, referee Ken Mauer tossed both Perkins and Randolph after the two confronted each other between a pair of free throws by Westbrook. After the ejections, Randolph and Perkins tried to approach each other while being restrained by teammates before finally heading out tunnels at opposite ends of Chesapeake Energy Arena.

By then, Memphis had all but locked up the latest in a series of testy games between the two young Western Conference playoff contenders who got to know each other all too well during a seven-game series in the playoffs two seasons ago.

Ibaka finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Thunder.

Quincy Pondexter contributed 13 points and Jerryd Bayless scored 12 as Memphis' bench outperformed the Thunder reserves. Both teams retooled their reserves during the offseason, with the Grizzlies letting O.J. Mayo leave in free agency and the Thunder trading Sixth Man of the Year James Harden to Houston.

Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks tightened his rotation in the second half, giving Durant and Westbrook no time off even after both had played 44 minutes in a come-from-behind win at Detroit on Monday night. In that game, the Thunder scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to immediately erase an 11-point deficit.

Not this time.

Pondexter and the second unit brought the Grizzlies back after they'd fallen behind 30-20 after the first quarter, getting held to just 32 percent from the field. Pondexter hit a pair of 3-poitners and a couple free throws during a 16-6 burst to start the second quarter, and Memphis kept rolling as the starters rotated back in.

Another Pondexter 3 put Memphis ahead 44-41 and the Grizzlies scored the final 10 points of the half, including a two-handed dunk by Gay off of Pondexter's alley-oop, to go up 56-45.

In all, the Thunder were outscored 36-15 in the second quarter while taking their turn making just 32 percent of their shots.

The deficit ballooned to 65-49 in the first 3 minutes of the second half, with Randolph converting putbacks on back-to-back possessions and Mike Conley following Gay's 3-pointer with a runner in the lane.

NOTES: Gasol also got a technical in the third quarter for taking the ball out of the net and raking it across Westbrook's face after a basket by Westbrook. ... The Grizzlies had just one turnover in the first half - when Bayless failed to connect with Gasol on a pass into the lane and Ibaka came away with it. ... Oklahoma City reserve Hasheem Thabeet spent a few moments at halftime chatting with ex-teammates and staff on the Memphis sideline. ``I'm happy that he's still in the league and happy that he's doing well,'' Hollins said.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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