Sports Headlines - April 17

Late slam from KD seals No. 2 spot in the west for Thunder, scoring title for Durant
An early dunk in the game last night against the Pistons, essentially sealed Kevin Durant's fate as the scoring champion in this year’s NBA season. But it was another dunk with just under 17 second left in the game that everyone will remember from last night.

KD drove to the rim late after the Thunder trailed the Pistons for a majority of the game, to get Oklahoma City a one-point advantage with 16 seconds left. A jump ball led to a desperation shot from the Pistons with under 2 seconds left, but it was no good, resulting in a thrilling one-point advantage to the Thunder who locked down the No. 2 seed in the western Conference with last night’s win.

Durant rallied the Thunder while recording 42 points, his 14th game of the year of 40 or more.

The Thunder extended their winning streak over Detroit to 9 games, dating clear back to December of 2008.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of the Pistons had a career night with 30 points and three other Pistons players scored 20 or more points in what was a very offensively-dominant game.

But on the other end, Durant’s 42 was aided by 22 points from Russell Westbrook.

The Thunder will now get a few days off while they prepare for the first round of the playoffs on Saturday, where they will meet the Memphis Grizzlies after an Overtime thriller in Memphis last night against the Mavericks.

Grizzlies top Mavericks for No. 7 spot in West, will face the Thunder on Saturday

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies had every reason to ease up in the regular season finale after pushing hard the past three months to reach the postseason.

Instead, they kept grinding and grabbed the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference.

Mike Conley hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds left in overtime, and the Memphis Grizzlies moved up from the eighth seed by edging the Dallas Mavericks 106-105 on Wednesday night.

"We've been holding on very tight for a long time ...," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "Getting 50 wins is something you want on your resume as a player, and people remember those. Those are special seasons. It's a standard, a golden standard I think."

Memphis became the seventh team in the West with 50 wins this season with the victory. The Grizzlies, who set a franchise record with a 14th straight home win in a single season, will open the postseason Saturday night at Oklahoma City. They beat the Thunder in the semifinals last year with Russell Westbrook out.

"Playing Grizzlies' basketball going into the postseason was key, and we wanted to try to keep that momentum going," Grizzlies guard Tony Allen said.

Monta Ellis missed a 17-footer before Conley drew the foul driving to the basket. Dallas had one last shot, but Ellis missed from the top of the key.

"It felt good, but it didn't go down," Ellis said. "I think we did a great job. We competed. It went down to the wire, and they won."

Conley was face guarding his player when he noticed Ellis got his shot off before the buzzer.

"I was like, 'How'd he get that open?'" Conley said. "When I saw it hit the rim, I was like 'Thank you, God.' That would have been a tough one to lose."

Avoiding No. 1 seed San Antonio in the first round was the only thing on the line, and Memphis has lost 14 of its last 16 against the Spurs with the Mavericks losing nine straight.


Kent Richards