MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Kevin Durant scored 36 points to break out of a slump, and the Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Memphis Grizzlies 104-84 on Thursday night to force a deciding seventh game in the first-round Western Conference series.
Russell Westbrook added 25 points for the Thunder, who haven’t been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs since 2010.
They took control early with Durant scoring 14 points in the first quarter and led by 15 at halftime.
Marc Gasol had 17 points and Zach Randolph 16 for Memphis.
• The Oklahoman newspaper printed a sports page headline Thursday that read “Mr. Unreliable” over a photo of Durant. Durant’s mother, Wanda Pratt, came to her son’s defense on Twitter: “UNBELIEVABLE!! KEVIN is RELIABLE!!!”
In an online apology, Sports Editor Mike Sherman wrote that the headline was “overstated and unduly harsh.” He clarified that it was focused on Durant’s play against Memphis, rather than the NBA scoring champion’s body of work.
Durant missed a potential game-winning shot in Game 5 against Memphis on Tuesday.
OWNERS TALK: NBA owners seem as committed as Commissioner Adam Silver to ending Donald Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The league’s advisory/finance committee held its first meeting about Sterling on Thursday, two days after Silver said he would urge owners to force a sale of the team.
The 10-member committee held a conference call to discuss “the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers,” NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement.
“The committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week.”
Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million Tuesday for making racist comments.
• Leon Jenkins, the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP,
resigned following scrutiny of his decision to give Sterling an award for promoting civil rights.
Jenkins had planned to present Sterling with a “lifetime achievement award” later this month. Jenkins rescinded that offer this week.
• V. Stiviano gave copies of the recording of Sterling making incendiary racial comments to a handful of friends for “safekeeping” and believes one of them sold the tape, her attorney said Thursday.
“One of those friends apparently wanted to make money and sold it to TMZ,” lawyer Mac Nehoray said.
Stiviano’s attorney denied suggestions by Los Angeles Clippers officials that Stiviano had leaked the recording to “get even” for a lawsuit filed by Sterling’s wife, Shelly.
LAKERS: George Karl, Jeff Van Gundy, Kurt Rambis and Byron Scott are on the list the Lakers have compiled for their coaching vacancy. The Lakers will also talk to a college coaches, including Kentucky’s John Calipari and Connecticut’s Kevin Ollie.