Thunder 102, Grizzlies 94
Observations, news and notes from Friday night’s game:
- The Thunder got off to a 9-2 run in the first 3 minutes, 25 seconds.
- There was a great sequence with 4:40 remaining in the first. Thabo Sefolosha recovered to block a layup attempt by O.J. Mayo when he beat Sefolosha backdoor. It led to a Thunder run out that ended with a Kevin Durant layup.
- OKC had eight assists on its first nine baskets, getting out to its lead because of unselfishness and ball movement.
- Marc Gasol looked like a giant on the court…and played huge early, too. His length on the glass was a bit of a problem and it allowed him to be in position for easy putbacks and finishes throughout the game. I think it’s time people realize that the Lakers did get a much better deal in the Pau Gasol trade. But it wasn’t as raw of a deal as people make it out to be.
- Shaun Livingston got the backup point guard minutes for the second straight game, checking in late in the first quarter. He did a nice job running the team, but more encouraging to me was his lateral movement looked solid as well while defending and staying in front of the shifty Jamaal Tinsley.
- James Harden posterized Hasheem Thabeet early in the second quarter. Thabeet blocked Harden twice before that so it was almost payback.
- Harden’s final stat line in no way explains the impact he had on the game. He played the entire fourth quarter, taking minutes from Sefolosha and served as the team’s facilitator in the fourth quarter and played solid defense on O.J. Mayo.
- It’s getting old, but Nick Collison gave great effort and huge minutes once again. He rebounded well, blocked shots, took charges and
- Russell Westbrook hit a few pull-up jumpers in the first half and his stroke looked silky smooth. That aspect of his game has been the least discussed area of his improvement.
- The Thunder lead 56-42 at halftime.
- The home broadcast pointed out something that I didn’t know. Durant entered the game leading the league in third-quarter scoring at nine points per game.
- Oklahoma City then scored just 10 points in the third period. Durant had six of them.
- Durant’s rebounding was impressive throughout the game. He really attacked the glass and gave the Thunder second-chance opportunities and helped OKC close out possessions with rebounds. He finished with 32 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals. It was his fifth double-double this season.
- After blowing a 17-point lead and going into the fourth period down by four, the Thunder went on a 24-6 run to break the game open and go back up 90-76.
- The Thunder is now 10-0 when scoring 100 points or more.
- Rudy Gay played an awful game. He never looked like he wanted to play and was never a factor. Gay finished with 16 points and seven rebounds. But he was 4-for-16 from the field.
- Oklahoma City had 10 blocked shots.
- Zach Randolph was a load and had 19 points and 20 rebounds, including 11 offensive rebounds. He had 12 points and 13 rebounds in the third quarter alone, sparking the Grizzlies’ 28-10 period. His 13 rebounds in the quarter set a franchise record.
- Hats off to Westbrook’s all-around game. 23 points, seven assists, six rebounds only three turnovers.
- Nenad Krstic also had one of his best games of the season with 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. He had a dunk late in the game, the first time I’ve seen him dunk in quite some time. It was with two hands no less.
- The Thunder was 4-for-19 from 3-point range.
- The Grizzlies were 4-for-18 from deep.
- The Thunder is now 12-9, the first time the franchise has been three games over .500 in five years.
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