When you start out 9-of-9 shooting, you’re going to win a lot of ball games. The Oklahoma City Thunder did just that tonight. The Memphis Grizzlies had no answer for the Thunder in the first half, as they played their first game without Rudy Gay. The Thunder led by as many as 25, as they won 106-89. Oklahoma City improve to 35-11 on the season, and 20-3 at home. Kevin Durant flirted with a triple double with 27 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.
Oklahoma City started out the game as hot as you would expect any team to start out. The Thunder nailed their first nine baskets, and never looked back. Oklahoma City led 7-0 before the Grizzlies thought they were going to play some basketball.
The Thunder’s first missed basket was off a Russell Westbrook air ball. It was rebounded by Nick Collison, and put right back, giving Oklahoma City the 22-14 lead with 3:33 left in the first quarter. That’s right, Oklahoma City didn’t miss a shot the first 8:27 of the ball game. How impressive is that?
Oklahoma City grabbed their first double digit lead off the Kevin Martin Blue light special! Martin came up a little limp after the basket. However, he didn’t miss any of the game. His shoot looked off all night, finishing just 5-of-13 for 16 points. He did get to the line four times as well.
After leading by 10 after the end of one quarter, Oklahoma City pushed the lead higher into the double digits in the quarter. Oklahoma City led by as much as 24 in the quarter. They limited the Grizzlies to just 12-second quarter points. That ties a Thunder franchise record for lowest opponent total in the second quarter.
The second half started out much like the first half, scoring a lot by Oklahoma City. The Thunder pushed their lead out to as much as 25 points when Westbrook hit his fourth bank shot. It was his third and-one on the bank too. Oklahoma City led 65-40 with 9:31 left in the frame.
Memphis made a run though, as we expected. A curious run though. Memphis only made their run once Russell Westbrook flipped out on the bench. At the 8:54 range, Westbrook was called for a five-second call. On the bench, Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha had a heated exchange. Kevin Durant stepped in the middle of it, trying to diffuse the situation. It didn’t work. Westbrook stormed off into the locker room after being sat by coach Scott Brooks.
From that point on, Memphis outscored Oklahoma City 27-14. Kevin Durant was the Oklahoma City savior during that Grizzlies run. Durant dropped 11 points in the final six minutes of the quarter to keep the Thunder at arm’s length from Memphis.
Brooks put Westbrook back in the fourth quarter and it was over. Oklahoma city, up only 12. I say only, because they were up 25. With Westbrook back in, Oklahoma City quickly put the game back in comfortable range, and never really allowed the Grizzlies back in the game. Oklahoma City pushed the lead back up to 20 points a couple of times before calling off the dogs.
Keys to the Game
Oklahoma City turned the ball over 16 times. Which, not too bad considering they turned it over eight times in the first quarter. Oklahoma City did a decent job in taking care of the ball from there. Most of their turnovers were due to over aggressiveness, I think. So, I’m not going to hold it against them tonight.
Thunder Money Ball: B
Thunder shot 35 percent from deep, but they limited the Memphis Grizzlies to just 24 percent shooting on 6-of-25 shooting. Thunder didn’t exactly shoot their best, but they played great defense.
Offensive rebounds: B-
Hard to really give this team a great grade for giving up 21 offensive rebounds. However, they limited the Grizzlies to just 13 second chance points. So, there’s that. Oklahoma City only grabbed four offensive boards though. Okay, bad, right? No, they scored nine points off those four. That’s really efficient. So, Oklahoma City salvages the B with that.