The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Memphis Grizzlies at home, 110-92. After getting blown out by the shorthanded Lakers, another date with a lottery team — and without Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony — was sending a collective shivers down the spines of the Thunder faithful. Instead, OKC rode a hot start to an easy win over the cratering Grizzlies.
Dynamo Paul George, OKC’s primary/secondary option for much of the time, finished the 1st half with 22 points on 7-12 shooting, including 4-6 from 3-point range. That would have been good enough, but surprisingly, the oft-maligned Alex Abrines and his buttery afternoon delight jump shot contributed an additional 16 on 4-4 shooting from long range. The net result was a shocking 74 point outburst in the first two frames that largely set up the outcome. The team shot 59% from the floor and 12-17 from 3-point range, leaving the bears with the blues.
And a good thing too, because the 2nd half largely went the way we expected the entirety of the game might go. The Thunder produced 36 points on 28% shooting, and their 3-point shooting fell back to earth, as they only connected on 4-20. Even George struggled, shooting only 3-12 from the floor, and world famous center Steven Adams only mustered 2 points on 1-2 shooting. Overall, the team earned 40(!) trips to the free throw line, but hit only 26. The less said about the 2nd half, the better, and hey! How about that first half!
Final props go to OKC’s hustle bros, Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson, who did a great job keeping the Grizz from falling bass-ackwards into a competitive game. 2Pat finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds, including 2-4 from three. Grant continued his aggressive ways, powering to the rim repeatedly to produce 14 points, although only shot 5-10 from the charity stripe.
Overall, I would have been content with a two possession win by OKC. This was something a little more enjoyable, which further demonstrates that the right players put in the right positions to succeed can carry the team even when they’re without their MVP.