After losing a franchise-record 11 straight home games during November and December, the Oklahoma City Thunder have started to experience more success at the Ford Center.
The Thunder go for their fourth win in five home games on Wednesday night as they host the Memphis Grizzlies, who have dropped 10 in a row for the first time in nearly seven years.
The Thunder (10-35) dropped 12 of their first 13 home games in their first season since relocating from Seattle, including 11 in a row from Nov. 5-Dec. 16. Lately, though, they’ve appeared to grow accustomed to their new home. Oklahoma City has won five of its last eight home contests, including a 94-85 victory over New Jersey on Monday in which it led by as many as 30 points.
“We played aggressive and were able to build a nice lead and keep that lead for most of the game,” said Oklahoma City guard Desmond Mason, who chipped in eight points. “There are some learning things that we have to go through but we got the win.”
Durant, sixth in the league in scoring at 24.5 points per game, has averaged 29.0 points as the Thunder and Grizzlies have split two meetings this season. Each team has won on the other’s home court.
Memphis hasn’t been winning anywhere lately. The Grizzlies suffered their 10th straight defeat Tuesday, falling 100-85 at home to Denver.
It’s the longest losing streak for Memphis (11-33) since it dropped the final two games of the 2001-02 season, then the first 13 of 2002-03.
After assistant Johnny Davis coached the Grizzlies on an interim basis for two games following the firing of Marc Iavaroni last Thursday, Lionel Hollins made his debut on Tuesday after moving over from the Milwaukee Bucks’ staff.
“I can’t speak for anything before I got here,” said Hollins, in his third stint as the Grizzlies’ head coach. “But what it looks like to me is the guys aren’t in good shape and, as soon as there is a little bit of adversity, we tend to start going our own way and doing our own thing. We have to develop some discipline to stay with what we are doing and play together.”
Memphis lacked discipline Tuesday, turning the ball over a season-high 26 times.
“They took our mistakes and made buckets off them,” said Rudy Gay, who had 13 points and eight rebounds, but committed six turnovers.
O.J. Mayo, the NBA’s leading rookie scorer at 19.1 points per game, was a bright spot against the Nuggets with a team-best 19 points. Mayo has averaged 24.0 points in the two games against Oklahoma City.