Thirty-six to fifteen. Think about that for a moment. Oklahoma City led 30-20 after the first quarter, and then Memphis took command. Totally. The second quarter went to the Griz, 36-15. This was partially due to the Thunder’s second unit being seriously outplayed by the Memphis reserves; but when the starters returned, the Grizzlies remained in the driver’s seat, and stayed there the rest of the night, culminating with Kendrick Perkins and Zack Randolph trash-talking each other into the locker room with two minutes left. The Thunder would never close the gap, and Memphis got away with a 10-point win, 107-97.
And 36-15 isn’t even your telltale statistic. This is: despite a marginally smaller shooting percentage, the Griz got off 21 more shots. With that going for them, OKC’s otherwise-competitive numbers and double-doubles from both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant (a season-high 34) didn’t mean a thing.
Speaking of double-doubles, Z-Bo had one before being thumbed. And Rudy Gay tossed in a season-high 28, second only to Durant’s 34. Five Grizzlies wound up in double figures, including two off the bench. (The OKC second unit barely got into double figures in aggregate.)
A word about Westbrook: Huh? He didn’t shoot that well 6-19 but he served up 13 dimes to go with those 17 points, grabbed six rebounds and turned it over just twice. (The turnover-prone Thunder gave it up 15 times, the stingier Griz only eight.) Whatever went wrong tonight, and what it appeared to be was a defense just slightly more porous than SpongeBob, it didn’t seem to be Russell’s fault.
This much for the Griz: if they can play three quarters like that every night from here on out, it’s good night, LeBron. Memphis, rot them, just might go all the way. Meanwhile, the Thunder will vent their frustrations on a fairly average Hornets squad in the Big Easy on Friday night.