It's just the Grizzlies, but I feel like we've overcome some huge obstacle by winning this game.
We finally learned how to stop our offensive slumps! The Thunder did it by getting fouled on every single play. At times, it seemed like the game wasn't moving at all, but if it's in the name of winning, I'm all for it. Almost 1/3rd of the Thunder's points came from free throws, which seems so insanely high that it should be a record or something. Heck, even Nenad Krstic went to the line!
But, there were other keys to the Thunder's victory. The Thunder generally kept the lineup on the floor big, especially down the stretch, to try to stilt Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. They succeeded against Gasol, who was a general non-factor, but Zach Randolph still managed to score on a consistent basis. I don't know how this guy does it, because he doesn't look very athletic and there's not much special about him besides his height, but I suppose he's strong enough to out-muscle others in the paint, and he has a high basketball IQ. But, even though Randolph did just as well offensively as he did a few nights ago, the re-emergence of Jeff Green's offense and rebounding ability helped the Thunder's cause.
Below: No Options for the Grizzlies, How the Game Went, Awards!
You could also see the Grizzlies really pining for an option besides Randolph and Gay. Many are hoping that Mayo can be that guy, but his game was really poor, only shooting 29.4%. Tony Allen failed to light it up like last time, capitalizing on all of his offensive opportunities, but failing to get in position to get more chances to score.
Flow-wise, the Thunder mostly had the upper-hand in this game, but there were times where you'd bite a nail and say, "Man, Memphis has a real shot at winning this one." The Grizzlies last tied the game with 5:41 left to go in the first, and they were losing by 1 with 5:09 to go in the third, and losing by 2 with 4:45 to go in the fourth. Why did the Grizzlies get so close without ever taking the lead? Well, part of it was the Thunder's brilliant control of the pace of the game and their ability to score in the worst offensive slumps by getting to the line, but part of it was the Grizzlies' unclutchness. They only hit 63% of their free throws, which is absurdly low for any team, and usually considered unacceptable for any player that's not a center or the most unrefined of power forwards. On top of that, the free throws seemed to miss at the most inopportune times, right as the Grizzlies were on a minor run and about to take the lead.
On to the Awards....
Thunder Wonder: Kevin Durant, 40 Points, 8 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 1 Block. Inavluable at getting to the line with 13-14 free throws.
Thunder Down Under: Russell Westbrook, 22 Points, 5 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 1 Steal, 3 Blocks. Also had 10-10 FT and was just invaluable at every end of the floor.
Thunder Blunder: Eric Maynor, 1 Rebound, 1 Assist, 2 Turnovers. In 7 minutes, it's a pretty bad statline.
Thunder Plunderer: Zach Randolph, 27 Points, 16 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 2 Blocks. Unstoppable, as always.
Next Game: At the Houston Rockets, Wednesday, January 12th, 7:30 PM Central Standard Time.