By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
The Thunder cruised past Memphis 106-89 in Oklahoma City on Thursday. Here’s some rapid reaction:
The Thunder made its first nine shots of the game. That’s the best start in OKC history and the most makes to begin a game by any NBA team this year. So essentially, it was over in the first few minutes, with the Thunder never trailing in the game.
It was over when…
…Memphis shipped Rudy Gay to Toronto a day before the game started. Now I’m not saying the Grizzlies are suddenly a borderline playoff team with a roster incapable of competing with OKC. But the sudden trade (which seemed to shock many of Memphis’ key players) basically handed this one to the Thunder on a silver platter. Gay’s 17.4 point per game average was gone and no one was here in time to replace him, with all the key pieces still caught up in post-trade semantics. The Grizzlies only suited up nine and none of them played with much energy.
Star of the game – Kevin Durant
It was a smooth and easy 27 points for Kevin Durant, who abused the undersized Tony Allen (a great defender who was a little out of his element guarding a sharpshooting superstar six inches taller than him). He went 10-of-16 from the field, consistently shooting down Memphis rallies with a perfect sense of when to take over the game.
Russell Westbrook was benched early in the third quarter after barking at some of his teammates. Then he threw a tantrum on the bench. In a relatively uneventful game, this will take over the headlines. Click here for video of what happened.
Stats of note
-The Thunder is now 11-1 when Russell Westbrook shoots 50% or better. He shot 9-of-17 on Thursday.
-Zach Randolph and Mike Conley (a combined 2-of-18) missed two more shots than the entire Thunder team in the first half.
-OKC is now 14-1 at home against Western Conference teams this season. The only loss came to Memphis (with Rudy Gay) in early November.
Finding new and creative ways to take random shots at NBA players. Skip Bayless, everyone:
For all you Nick Collison lovers.
That was a quick homestand, wasn’t it? One game, one easy win. Now the Thunder head back on the road for a game at Cleveland on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.