Thunder Make Grizzlies Sing The Blues In Memphis
By Randy Renner
Tuesday night's throttling of the Memphis Grizzlies was just exactly what the Oklahoma City Thunder needed.
Finally, absolute total domination of a good team on the road and the Thunder rolled to a 125-88 blowout of the same team they'd lost to in Memphis earlier in the season.
"When we play together like that, we make the game easier," Kevin Durant said. "We were just playing smooth basketball. It was beautiful to watch. It was a fun game to play."
It was especially fun for KD who made everything seem easy. He scored a game-high 32 points on 11-for-14 shooting overall and 4-for-5 on threes while also grabbing 10 rebounds and handing out six assists.
Russell Westbrook just scored 13 points, about half his average, but he orchestrated his team's offense perfectly and dished 16 assists (one shy of his career-high) as the Thunder built the lead to 35 through three quarters and coasted to their second straight win.
"I can't say enough about what Russell did," Thunder coach Billy Donovan told reporters after the game. "In my opinion, he's one of the rare guys in this league that can dominate a game without scoring. Russell did a terrific job of orchestrating everything, moving players around and getting them in the right spots. We had good movement and we had extra passing.”
Serge Ibaka added 17 for Oklahoma City, and D.J. Augustin had 13. Dion Waiters finished with 12 points.
"I think it's the worst loss we've had against them, especially at home," said Memphis forward Zach Randolph, who had nine points and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol was limited to just 11 points.
The teams played the first quarter pretty even but Donovan decided to change things up in the second quarter opting to go small against the Grizzlies' big lineup and Memphis simply didn't have any answers, appearing helpless to even slowdown the OKC offense while also unable to get anything going on offense.
“They’re a good team when you let them rough you up a little bit,” Westbrook pointed out. “We did a good job of setting the tone on both ends of the floor and it showed tonight.”
Oklahoma City was ridiculously efficient on offense, shooting 56 percent overall and 50 percent (13-for-26) from beyond the arc. The Thunder were credited with a whopping 31 assists on 47 baskets.
On defense, which has looked much better of the last few games, again played at a high level, allowing the Grizzlies to shoot just 40.7 percent overall and 21.4 percent (3-for-14) on threes.
Now what the Thunder need is to show what happened Tuesday night was not just one of those once in a while type games. They certainly don't need to blowout the Atlanta Hawks when Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver visit The Peake on Thursday night but solid showings on both ends of the floor would be nice.