All sorts of weirdness connected with this game, not least the fact that Yahoo! Sports, where I usually get my box-score numbers, called this one as a final with four and a half minutes left. At the time, it was Thunder 89, Grizzlies 81. There was, of course, no way Memphis was going to lose this by eight, not with its entire frontcourt in double-double territory and with Russell Westbrook unable to buy, or even rent, a bucket. With a minute left, the Griz were down by two, 92-90. With five seconds left, the Griz were still down by two, 94-92. Westbrook drew a foul and sank both free throws; Zack Randolph responded with a trey; Kevin Durant drew a foul and dropped in two more points, and a Hail Mary by Z-Bo fell short at the buzzer, OKC escaping with a 98-95 win.
The Griz pulled down 49 boards, 19 off the offensive glass, well ahead of the Thunder. What Memphis didn’t have was a long-distance attack: sixteen 3-point attempts produced only six points. They also didn’t have Mike Conley, who rolled an ankle 24 seconds in; Jeremy Pargo filled in admirably well. Meanwhile, OKC was putting up three-balls all over the place, hitting 10 of 25, which is only 40 percent, but considering the Thunder shot only 37.7 percent, 40 seems miraculous. (Memphis was only slightly better, at 39.1.)
And I’m not kidding about Westbrook, who finished with four points, all from the stripe; he was 0-13 from the floor. On the upside, James Harden hit 20 for the first time this season, Kendrick Perkins had 10, and deadeye Daequan Cook went 3-4 from somewhere across the Mississippi in less than 15 minutes. Durant? Thirty-two. About his season average so far.
After this, the Mavericks (the Mavericks?) are going to look like a breather. But that’s tomorrow night in the Gas Chamber. I trust Yahoo! won’t post the score in the middle of the afternoon.