The Oklahoma City Thunder came into the Fed Ex Forum Wednesday looking for their first win on the second night of a back to back this season. Last year Memphis eliminated OKC in the Western Conference Semi Finals on their home floor. This is the first time these teams have met since last year’s playoffs. The Grizzlies were short-handed again like they have been most of this season. Memphis was hopeful they would have Tony Allen and Ed Davis back, but neither played. The Grizzlies came into the game with only nine available players, and got a scare when Mike Conley went down hard in the first half. Conley was fine, but anytime a Grizzly goes down, you have to hold your breath because they literally only have nine players that are healthy enough to play. Tony Allen would have been very helpful, because the Thunder’s guards torched Memphis. Russell Westbrook had a massive night, and Jeremy Lamb came off the bench, and hit some big threes.
The Oklahoma City Thunder had a big night against the Grizzlies. The Thunder got their first win on the back-end of a back to back this season. Russell Westbrook was on triple-double watch from halftime on. Westbrook ended up with a twenty-seven and nine night. Kevin Durant had eighteen points and six rebounds. KD had a relatively quiet night by his standards, but they did not need him because of Westbrook’s monstrous night. Jeremy Lamb came off the bench and went 3/4 from three-point land. Lamb finished with eighteen points. Serge Ibaka and Reggie Jackson were also in double figures. Jackson had seventeen, and Ibaka had twelve. Kendrick Perkins had zero points, and only two rebounds with thirteen and a half minutes of playing time. Perkins has struggled lately, and many people around the league thought OKC would amnesty him in the off-season. OKC continues to have faith in him, but he shows no signs of improving anytime soon.
This is a game that Memphis will want to forget about. It was a tough game to watch, and had to be frustrating to be playing in a Grizzlies uniform. Even on such a terrible night for the Grizz, Conley managed to have a twenty and nine night. Zbo had a seventeen and eight night, because Steven Adams guarded him a lot of the night and Zbo was just too much for him to handle. Kosta Koufos, Jerryd Bayless, and Jon Leuer was also in double figures for Memphis. Nothing went right for the Grizz. Only Jamaal Franklin and Jon Leuer had positive minute splits. When that happens, you will lose every time. The Grizzlies turned the ball over fifteen times, and failed to convert the Thunder’s turnovers into points.
Most people did not expect Memphis to have much of a chance against OKC tonight. OKC is a favorite to win the West, and they do not make many mistakes. A team missing most of their key players does not have much of a chance against the Thunder. When OKC gets a lead, they do not look back. Memphis got down early, and did not have their offensive weapons they needed to come back. They also needed their lock-down perimeter defender to guard some of the Thunder’s talented guards. I think this is a throw away game for the Grizzlies. The next four games are what we can look at to see where the Grizzlies are at right now. Friday Memphis goes to New Orleans, then they host Minnesota, the Lakers, and end it on the road against the Mavs. The Pelicans waxed the Grizzlies at the Fed Ex Forum last month, and the Grizzlies need to get a win in New Orleans. Ed Davis and Tony Allen are considered day-to-day so maybe they will be able to return soon. Marc and Quincy will be out for a while, but everyone else should return fairly quickly. When they return, the Grizz will get more consistent, and hopefully make a run to the playoffs. Do not give up yet Grizznation. There is still plenty of time for Memphis to get healthy, and turn the season around. (All stats from NBA.com)