Thunder beat Grizzlies to reach Western Finals


OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 105-90 on Sunday to seal their place in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Western Conference finals.

The Thunder rebounded from their 13-point loss in Memphis two days ago to easily win the deciding seventh game at home, with forward Kevin Durant leading the way with 39 points and nine rebounds.

Oklahoma's 4-3 series win saw them advance to the best-of-seven Western Conference finals
against the Dallas Mavericks, starting in Texas Tuesday.

Like his team, Durant recovered quickly from Friday's below-par display. In that game, the 22-year-old Durant managed only 11 points on 3-for-14 shooting, but he was back to his best against the Grizzlies.

"(I was going to) be aggressive no matter if I was shooting 10 for 30," Durant told reporters after Sunday's win.

"My teammates kept pushing, kept getting me the ball and I was able to get some good shots."

Memphis got 18 points from Mike Conley along with 17 and 10 rebounds from Zach Randolph,
but the visitors were unable to catch the Thunder, who came out fast and built an 11-point lead in the second quarter then led by eight at the half.

The Grizzlies clawed to within 52-49 late in the third, but Oklahoma City exploded for a 14-2 run that established a 66-51 lead with 1:23 left in the quarter.

It marks the first time Oklahoma have reached the Conference Final. The franchise was previously localed in Seattle until moving in 2008.

The loss ended the magical playoff ride for the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, who upset the San Antonio Spurs in the first round before pushing Oklahoma City to the limit.

Memphis had never won a playoff game before this year and their unexpected charge provided a source of inspiration to a city devastated by floods. — Reuters

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