While no one was looking, the Memphis Grizzlies climbed their way into eighth place in the West. The Griz won 21 of their first 30 games in the FedUpForum, and last night, just for good measure, they slid past the Mavericks in Dallas. You have to assume, therefore, that the Thunder, who’d beaten Memphis only once in three tries this season, were aware what they were up against. But maybe it didn’t matter: the Griz were clicking on all cylinders tonight, and Yahoo! Sports had the final score posted about four minutes (real time, not game time) before the game actually ended. (I went back a few minutes later, and they’d fixed it.) Grizzlies 107, Thunder 101, and that finishes off the season series.
Oklahoma City managed to outshoot Memphis (52.5 percent!), but they fell down on the boards, especially offensive boards, which the Griz dominated, 15-8. And they did it without Rudy Gay, who’s been out since mid-February with a shoulder injury. All five Memphis starters scored in double figures, led by guards Mike Conley and Tony Allen, both of whom picked up an even 20.
And for some reason, the Thunder weren’t getting the free throws. (Radio guy Matt Pinto would say it was because the fouls weren’t being called.) They put up only 18; worse, they made just 11. Neither Russell Westbrook nor Kevin Durant got to be a Force of Nature tonight, though Westbrook came closer, picking up 27 points on 11-21 shooting. (Durant went 8-19, despite four second-half treys; the Griz gave him grief from the opening tipoff.)
The road trip continues at Philadelphia. Do not get your hopes up: the Sixers have won eight of their last ten. On the other hand, they have to play at Indiana Tuesday, and the Thunder show up in Philly on Wednesday.