The Thunder, we had to hope, would not make the same mistakes they made against Memphis last time. The Grizzlies, who had beaten the Jazz last night and the Lakers earlier in the week, certainly weren’t showing any signs of fatigue. But the old ratchet-down-the-defense trick still works, and Oklahoma City pulled out a 109-100 win over Memphis at the Largely Inaccessible Arena.
At least one major difference was Jeff Green, who at some point had to defend just about every Grizzly on the floor. And Uncle Jeff didn’t flinch; holding Zach Randolph to 27 points and 16 rebounds is a tough job by any standard. Rudy Gay had 20 more before fouling out late. But the Griz didn’t dominate the boards this time around, they missed fourteen straight treys before O. J. Mayo finally got one in the last minute, and they left 11 points at the foul line.
Meanwhile, Kevin Durant, who had a fairly-pedestrian 12 points in the first half, dropped in 28 more in the second, for a total of 40; Russell Westbrook added 22 and 11 dimes, and Uncle Jeff, when he had the chance to shoot, got 15. The Thunder put up 42 foul shots, connecting on 35. If OKC had gotten some points in the paint — the Griz managed almost 60 — this might have been a blowout instead of a grinder; the game was, for the most part, a lot closer than that nine-point margin might suggest.
Take a rest, guys. You’re gonna need it, and Houston’s coming up.