THUNDER-GRIZZLIES IS ‘GREAT COMPETITION'
The intensity between the Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies continued Wednesday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena, where the Grizzlies posted a 107-97 victory before a sellout crowd of 18,203.
Asked beforehand about the series between the franchise, Memphis coach Lionel Hollins downplayed it as a budding rivalry.
“Great competition, that's all it is,” Hollins said. “Doesn't matter whether it's this series or another series. It's a basketball competition. Fans come to see players do their thing, go out there and compete against each other at the highest level and battle till the end. Obviously somebody's got to win, somebody's got to lose. Competition is really what's special about it.”
THABEET IN THE PAST
The Grizzlies drafted center Hasheem Thabeet with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Even though Thabeet now plays for the Thunder, he wasn't on Hollins' mind — not even while scouting OKC for Wednesday's game.
“I haven't thought about Hasheem, period,” Hollins said. “I don't even think about Hasheem … He's not in my thought process. He's not on my team anymore. I'm looking at (Kevin) Durant, (Russell) Westbrook and the guys who play the majority of the minutes, what they bring to the party and how we can stop them.
“I'm not sitting here trying to stop Hasheem. He very well may have a big game, which is good for him. I'm happy that he's still in the league and I'm happy that he's doing well. There's a ton of guys I've coached that I don't think about any more. That's just the way it is. I've just got to worry about the guy's I'm coaching now.”
Former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen was erratic, yet effective, in 19 high-energy minutes, jumping passing lanes, pestering opposing guards and clanking jump shots. He finished with six points (2 for 6 shooting), four rebounds, one assist and two steals in the Grizzlies' victory.
Afterward, Allen chatted at length with former OSU coach Eddie Sutton.
“It's as close as I get to Stillwater, and I've still got good friends who're from the city,” Allen said. “Other than that, it's just back home, back in my old stomping ground and it feels good to come out here and play. Especially to get a win.”
CALENDAR ON SALE
The Thunder Girls will begin sales of their 2013 swimsuit calendar with a release party on Friday at Riverwind Casino. The event runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and will feature all 20 Thunder Girls, who will be on hand to autograph the calendar. Fans can purchase the calendar for $15. There is no charge for event admission, and fans of all ages are welcome to meet the squad.
Memphis outscored the Thunder 20-9 on second-chance points, 13-12 in fast-break points and 42-38 in the paint. … OKC made its first 17 free throws, then missed five of its last nine. … The Grizzlies scored 16 points off 15 Thunder turnovers while committing just eight turnovers themselves for 11 points. … Quincy Pondexter, who scored 13 points off the bench for Memphis, originally was drafted by the Thunder with the 26th overall pick in 2010 and traded with Craig Brackins in exchange for Cole Aldrich and Morris Peterson.
Hollins on why his team didn't attempt many 3-pointers last season: “Well, if you're not making them, why shoot them? It's all about talent and if we don't have guys make them, why are we out there shooting them? If they shoot them and make them, we're fine. But if they shoot them and keep missing them, I'm going to tell them to stop shooting them and go to the basket.”