GAME 9 vs. Memphis Grizzlies: L (107-97)
The Grizzlies became the first team to hang 100 points on the Thunder while handing them their third loss of the season Wednesday at the Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.
1st QUARTER GAME NOTES
The Thunder looked like they were in cruise control once again after the first quarter. They jumped out to a 10-point lead with Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Thabo Sefolosha droppin eight apiece in the first 12 minutes. Memphis got off to a horrible start offensively and shot 32% to start the game including 2-9 from Tony Allen and Mark Gasol.
2nd QUARTER GAME NOTES
Memphis turned the game around in the second period, outscoring the Thunder 36-15. The difference ended up coming down to bench play. The Grizzlies’ bench outscored Oklahoma City’s 18-6 in the second period while Quincy Pondexter knocked down three three’s. Jarryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington combined for seven points as well.
3rd QUARTER GAME NOTES
OKC did its best to climb back into it after the half; however, Memphis continued to play well offensively. Rudy Gay scored nine of his 18 second half-points in the third quarter and Zach Randolph got going with eight. OKC shot over 56% from the field, but couldn’t stop anybody defensively. Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka combined to hit every shot for OKC in the third period.
4th QUARTER GAME NOTES
Once again the Thunder played well in the fourth period, but once again the Grizzlies played well also and held off OKC to earn their sixth victory of the year. Rudy Gay caught fire in the third and continued his hot shooting in the fourth. He scored nine points and scored on three straight possessions with Durant in his face. Bayless turned in nine points in the fourth as well with Randolph and Gasol combining for four.
SCOTT BROOKS ON: What went wrong in the 2nd quarter.
“Ellington came in and hit three tough shots and they picked the intensity up. We gave them a lot of looks around the basket, but 21 points on us, I don’t think that will happen again all season.”
SCOTT BROOKS ON: Kevin Martin’s first game in single digits.
“It’s something that we definitely need to look at because we need his offense. For whatever reason, four shots is not good enough. It was a combination of the team, myself and Kevin (Marin). I didn’t do a good job and he didn’t do a good job, but we will figure that out.”
MY RANDOM NOTES
- This was a very physical and intense game. It had a playoff feel to it and you could tell the players felt the same way when Randolph and Kendrick Perkins got ejected in the fourth quarter. I thought the Clippers/Grizzlies rivalry was brewing, but the Thunder/Grizzlies is boiling as well.
- When Westbrook gets off to a slow start, he usually has a terrible offensive game. Not tonight. He had his worst shooting game of the season, but had his best facilitating game of the season (13 assists). He always finds a way to make you shake your head, but this is a growing step. He’s still so young and has a so much to learn. Sometimes it’s nice to see the learning process in action.
- Kevin Martin only took four shots and OKC lost. Something tells me that the team needs him to take control more or they won’t win very many games. He had a tough time against Memphis’ strong defense and sort of zoned out. I hope this isn’t a sign of what’s to come for Martin against good defensive teams.
- The Grizzlies’ bench could be the best in the league. Quincy Pondexter, Jerryd Bayless and Wayne Ellington make up a solid core for their second team. Memphis scares me if I’m a Thunder fan. They have size, the can score from anywhere on the court and they dominate defensively. Could Memphis eliminate OKC if they meet in the playoffs? I think they can.
- I’ve heard some other guys talking about the crowds OKC has had this season. They’ve said the noise level hasn’t come close to what it was last year and after tonight, I agree. It’s almost as if the fans are bored with the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers and others. If it’s not the Heat or Lakers, it’s going to be an average crowd. Let’s all hope that mentality doesn’t catch on.
PLAYERS OF THE NIGHT
-Kevin Durant: 34 Points / 10 Rebounds / 5 Assists
-Russell Westbrook: 17 Points / 13 Assists / 6 Rebounds
-Serge Ibaka: 17 Points / 8 Rebounds / 4 Blocks
-Rudy Gay: 28 Points / 6 Rebounds / 5 Assists (POG)
-Zach Randolph: 20 Points / 11 Rebounds / 2 Steals
-Marc Gasol: 14 Points / 6 Rebounds / 2 Blocks
NEXT GAME: Nov. 16 at New Orleans (3-3)