Marc Gasol returned for Memphis on Tuesday night, and the star center's steady defensive presence, combined with an all-around scoring attack from his teammates, gave the Grizzlies a 90-87 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are now 5-4 without Russell Westbrook since he was sidelined by a knee injury after Christmas.
The Grizzlies (18-19) got strong output from the starting lineup, as four of the five scored in double figures, led by Courtney Lee's 24 points on 9-of-15 from the field. Zach Randolph had the most complete game for Memphis, scoring 23 points and adding 13 rebounds with four assists.
Serge Ibaka hit a step-back three-pointer with four seconds remaining to bring the Oklahoma City Thunder to within one, but it wasn't enough.
Mike Conley continued his strong play with a line of 19 points, seven rebounds and two steals, and showed stellar ball control in committing just one turnover.
Speaking of giveaways, 19 of them turned out to be the difference in the game for Oklahoma City (28-10), who shot just 41 percent from the field and a dismal 24 percent from the three-point line.
For the Thunder, Kevin Durant rebounded from a nasty fall on Saturday against the Milwaukee Bucks to pour in a game-high 37 points on 15-of-28 shooting from the field, though he was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc. Reggie Jackson chipped in 17 points and added six rebounds.
In the first half, OKC held the Grizzlies to just 39 percent shooting from the field and led 47-43 at the break. Despite the strong defensive effort, the Thunder committed nine turnovers through the first two frames and yielded eight offensive rebounds that resulted in 11 second-chance points for the Grizzlies to keep the game within striking distance.
Marc Gasol made his return to the floor for Memphis after missing several weeks with an MCL sprain. After just one practice, his knee responded well enough that he drew the start and logged 24 minutes to finish with 12 points and four rebounds.