Oklahoma City Thunder: Great moments in bear wrestling

For a series with such a limited history, Thunder-Grizzlies has provided a lot of memorable moments over the last five years. In honor of the seven-game Western Conference semifinals that start Sunday, here are the seven most memorable OKC-Memphis games.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 4, 2013

With the win, Memphis drew within a half game of OKC in the West standings. Mike Conley outplayed Russell Westbrook. Zach Randolph beat down Jeff Green. Marc Gasol bulled Nenad Krstic. Gay won the duel with Durant. Grizzly rookie Hasheem Thabeet had nine rebounds and four blocked shots, and no one walked away wondering why Memphis had taken the 7-foot-3 center over James Harden.

That game set the tone for what has become an interesting rivalry.

5. Jan. 31, 2013: Russell Westbrook's mysterious meltdown overshadowed a 106-89 Thunder rout of the Grizzlies.

Westbrook barked at the genteel Thabo Sefolosha, took a shot so wild Scott Brooks was forced to substitute, blew his stack while being counseled by Mo Cheeks, knocked over a chair and stormed off the court into the Chesapeake Arena tunnel.

At the time, Westbrook was playing an excellent game and the Thunder led Memphis by 20 points.

6. May 1, 2011: The Grizzlies served notice that the 2011 Western Conference semifinals would be an alleyfight the entire way. Eighth-seeded Memphis routed the Thunder 114-101 in Game 1 in OKC.

Zach Randolph had 34 points and 10 rebounds, and Marc Gasol had 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Thunder got a wake-up call and didn't regain control of the series until a Game 5 blowout.

7. Nov. 29, 2008: Scott Brooks' first career victory as a head coach and the Thunder's first road win ever came in Memphis, where Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Jeff Green 22 to lead a 111-103 victory.

The Thunder was 1-16 coming into the game, en route to a 23-59 season. The Grizzlies entered 4-12, en route to a 24-58 finish.

Both teams got good fast. Memphis that night started Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Darrell Arthur, Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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