By Anthony Slater – Aslater@opubco.com - @anthonyVslater
Oklahoma City’s five-game win streak was broken on Wednesday night, falling victim to the red-hot Memphis Grizzlies, 107-97, in Chesapeake Energy Arena. Here’s some rapid reaction:
The Thunder lost this game in the second quarter. After sprinting out to an impressive 10-point lead, OKC became sloppy and unenergized. Memphis took advantage, winning the second quarter 34-15 and using that 19-point buffer as the eventual difference.
It was over when…
…Jerryd Bayless and Rudy Gay stretched the lead out to 13 early in the fourth quarter, both drilling a pair of long range bombs and silky floaters. It was the same deficit OKC faced in Detroit on Monday, but this wasn’t the Pistons.
Star of the game – Rudy Gay
On most nights, Rudy Gay reminds me of Kevin Durant Lite. Tall, lanky and athletic, but not quite as skilled as OKC’s superstar. That wasn’t the case on Wednesday though, with Gay matching Durant shot for shot in an impressive offensive display. The former UConn star showed feathery touch, dropping in fadeaway after fadeaway during a 12-21 shooting, 28-point performance. Any time Memphis needed a bucket, he was there.
This one wasn’t on KD. Despite the disappointing loss, his offensive aggressiveness was a welcome sign. Coming in, Durant was averaging 16 shots per game (low for his standards) and 23 points per game (very low for his standards). On Wednesday, he went 12-21 from the field for a season-high 34 points.
Stat of the game
After another rough offensive night (6-19 from the field), Russell Westbrook is now shooting 39.5 percent from the field this season. He’s never shot worse than 39.8 percent for an entire season.
What this means
It was a mid-November game that, in the grand scheme, didn’t mean much. But you have to be impressed with Memphis. That’s six consecutive wins overall, including two straight double-digit victories over last year’s NBA finalists (vs Miami and at OKC). The Grizzlies are for real.
Tweet of the game
Not sure if it happened or not. But there’s not two other players in the league that could make this story more believable.
GIF of the game
Strange moment here. Westbrook scores over Marc Gasol, who proceeds to lightly (but purposely) bounce the ball of Westbrook’s head. Gasol gets a technical and Westbrook gets a lifetime of wondering what he would have done to Gasol if the league had no repercussions.
The Thunder travel to New Orleans for another rare one-game road trip. Oklahoma City plays the 3-3 Hornets on Friday night at 7 p.m., getting an early look at super rookie Anthony Davis.