The Grizzlies got out of Memphis before the muddy Mississippi came close to escaping its banks; perhaps the inch and a half of rain today perplexed them a bit. The broadcast team, for its part, figured it was fatigue. Whatever the reason, the Griz were adrift most of the evening, and the Thunder rolled up a surprisingly-easy 99-72 win in front of a damp but happy home crowd.
It was 17-17 after the first quarter, and things remained close for about six minutes after that. Then Memphis began to implode: easy shots were missed, silly fouls were charged. The Griz wouldn’t get 20 points in any quarter but the fourth. They shot less than 36 percent, collected only 33 rebounds, and gave up an uncharacteristic 14 turnovers.
Radio guy Matt Pinto says the difference was in the bench personnel: OKC reserves scored 53, versus 27 for Memphis. (Or you could look at it as 46 for the Thunder starters, 45 for the Griz.) Nobody hit even 20 points, though Kevin Durant managed 19, and Daequan Cook shot 6-7 for 18. And no double-doubles, though Nick Collison pulled down 10 boards to go with nine points.
So it’s 3-2 Thunder going into Game 6, back in Memphis Friday night. Me, I’m just grateful that this game ran about 100 minutes shorter than Game 4.