The Oklahoma City Thunder summer league team started tournament play on Thursday evening, and the first round matchup pitted them against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies used their strong inside presence and stifling defense to take home a 92-85 victory over the Thunder.
The Grizzlies made a statement early and jumped out to a 13-4 lead. The absence of Dakari Johnson was felt throughout this game, as the Grizzlies had their way inside. The Thunder were missing that inside presence on both ends, as Deyonta Davis and Jaren Jackson Jr. used their length to block shots defensively and get easy layups inside.
The Thunder struggled to find a rhythm. They were unable to find success inside, and the Grizzlies perimeter defense made it tough to get anything going outside. Terrance Ferguson (1-of-6) and PJ Dozier (4-of-11) struggled to produce much offense. Rashawn Thomas was efficient on the night, but he struggled handling the Grizzlies’ bigs. Daniel Hamilton had to deal with the pressure from Jevon Carter.
Carter led the perimeter defensive attack and put pressure on all of the Thunder guards. Offensively, Carter led the team and the offense flowed smoothly for Memphis. He found Jackson inside for easy baskets and also found Crawford on the perimeter for open shots. Carter led the Grizzlies with eight rebounds.
The Grizzlies used a 15-0 run to jump out to a 23 point lead, and led by 21 at the half. The Thunder chipped at the lead and made it competitive in the second half. They cut the lead as close as four in the fourth quarter, however, the Grizzlies made defensive plays at the right time to halt the Thunder run.
The Thunder shot 46% from the field and just 26% from three, while shooting 16 of 23 from the free throw line. The Grizzlies also shot 46% from the field and 26% from three. The Grizzles dominance inside made the difference in this game.
Thomas led the Thunder with 13 points and seven rebounds. Dozier scored nine points and dished four assists. Diallo, Hervey, and Burton each scored 12 points off the Thunder bench. Hamilton scored seven points, grabbed 11 rebounds, and dished out eight assists.
Jackson scored 16 points, pulled down five rebounds, and blocked three shots. Crawford put in 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting and 3-of-4 from three. Carter nearly notched a triple-double with 19 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.