Seems it's always something whenever the Thunder and Grizzlies go at it.
Even when there shouldn't be.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 27 points to lead Oklahoma City to a 106-89 win over Memphis on Thursday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. But even a 17-point win somehow was filled with drama, both on the court and on the sideline in the second half.
At least this time, as far as we know, no players met by the bus.
But when the Thunder built a 25-point first-half lead, it seemed certain OKC would overpower a short-handed Grizzlies squad playing its first game in the post-Rudy Gay era.
Russell Westbrook had a mini-meltdown early in the third quarter, which included a brief but colorful argument with teammate Thabo Sefolosha, an ensuing benching and a never-before-seen, in-game storm-off into the tunnel to blow off steam.
The Grizzlies promptly peeled off a 20-10 run, cutting the Thunder's lead to 10 in the final minute of the quarter before threatening to mount a comeback and complete what would have been their second win against the Thunder in as many trips to OKC.
When it was all said and done, the Thunder chose to downplay the sideshow and focus on the sound victory, perhaps a much-needed one following a 3-3 road trip that had the Thunder away from its home confines since Jan. 16.
“We had three days off, and we were very excited to play after losing our last game,” said Durant. “The guys came out to play.”
The Thunder held the Grizzlies to 34.7 percent shooting, largely behind a dominant first half in which OKC constructed a 58-34 lead at the break. It was one of the Thunder's most complete opening halves of the year. Oklahoma City shot 61.1 percent and held Memphis to 26 percent shooting, a season-low for the Grizzlies in a half.
“I thought that was a very good defense game for us,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “It was a good win. With that being said, they obviously just made a trade so they don't have all of their newly acquired players. But it was a good win.”
Most impressive was how OKC shut down Memphis' inside tandem of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, annually two of the biggest thorns for the Thunder.