Still, even with both teams undermanned, Monday was a knock down, drag out of a ball game.
“Feels like we play each week,” Thunder point guard Reggie Jackson said. “They beat you up. They play physical. They play their grind-it-out basketball and do well at it. It's just a great competitive matchup every time we meet.”
But here's an interesting twist to what we saw Monday night. While the Thunder's strength on the perimeter showed — Durant had another 30-plus point performance while Jackson, Thabo Sefolosha, Jeremy Lamb and Derek Fisher combined for an additional 26 points — the Thunder's interior players more than managed the Grizzlies' bigs. Randolph and Gasol managed only 26 points combined on 11 of 26 shooting.
The Grizzlies shot only 39.5 percent as a team as the Thunder blocked nine shots.
Perkins and Serge Ibaka were stout. Ditto for Nick Collison and Steven Adams.
Even though Adams is a newbie, he already gets what the Grizzlies are all about. In the locker room after the game, he was getting razzed for the massive workmanlike boots he was wearing.
“I had to put on my work boots for Memphis,” he said.
The Thunder brought their hard hats and lunch pails Monday night.
Best do the same if the Grizzlies make their way back to The Peake in the playoffs.
Jenni Carlson can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.