Grizzlies 107 - Thunder 133
The Grizzlies tried to go inside early, to exploit the absence of Kendrick Perkins and that aggression had Marc Gasol shooting early for once. He had his shot working well in the paint. Mike Conley and Courtney Lee also took turns diving into the paint to lure Steven Adams, but their shots just were not falling.
Oklahoma City's athleticism, even without a solid big, still ran rampant over the Grizzlies at times, contributing to 4 blocks in the first quarter. Including a Thabo Sefolosha one against Mike Conley when Conley was on a break. That blocked shot also was a part of Conley's continual chilly start to games.
The Thunder also pestered the Grizzlies into recurring turnovers. Sefolosha suffered a thigh contusion and would not return for the game.
Shooting was awful on both ends, fouls were all over the place and the first FG scored for either side was with barely over eight minutes left in the quarter.
Hasheem Thabeet seemed determined to show something to the team that drafted him and became a defensive force, although OKC not taking any kind of advantage, missing 5 Free Throws in the first half and giving away just as many fouls as the Grizzlies.
At least until the 17-6 run to end the quarter.
Moment of the Half:
Kosta Koufos did not get a lot of minutes in the first half, but his play to try and cut off a Russell Westbrook fast break was a callous away from being a clean block. I know it isn't much, but that half was ugly and Koufos is always good for a really great defensive play where he just doesn't quit.
Player of the Half:
Tayshaun Prince. His shot was the only one falling in that first half, 5 of 9 shooting and a solid stretch at defense.
The Grizzlies started running some plays with some good ball movement. They were able to take advantage of Serge Ibaka's fouls and really push it inside and Marc Gasol really started moving to end the quarter with 10 points.
But due to the physical nature of the 2nd quarter, the Grizzlies were also deep in fouls and couldn't put the brakes on Westbrook and Durant. Westbrook was especially on a roll, starting to get more comfortable in the 4th game back from his knee scope.
The fouls also lead to the Grizzlies being more passive and OKC took advantage with 10 second-chance points. Durant had 17 points in the quarter.
The third quarter has been awful all year for the Grizzlies and this one wasn't any better, but it also wasn't the worst. With the contention and poor shooting from the 2nd quarter it seemed the Grizz actually had a game plan and worked really well on it.
It was the Mike Miller show! Scoring all 19 of his points, he pushed a 16-point deficit down to three points, and a strong defensive effort from a lineup of Koufos-Nick Calathes-Miller-Tony Allen and James Johnson finally got some stops against the juggernaut. Couple that with Miller's hot hand and for the first time in 3 and a half quarters it became a game worth watching. This was the same 4th Quarter Thunder that collapsed so enormously against the Cavaliers on Wednesday, that they gave up 42 points. In a quarter. To the Cavaliers. Poised for a Grizzlies comeback!
In the final seconds, Joerger put out Gasol-Zbo-Calathes-Lee-Miller with Calathes taking a three-attempt that makes the front office probably go out and sign another PG off the waiver wire.
Could end up being a fun March if Miller's tapped the Fountain of Youth & has some of THAT left in him. Still scared of those minutes tho.— Chris Faulkner (@FaulknerMemphis) March 1, 2014
Moment of the Half:
The Mike Miller Show was fantastic. It's hard to believe he still has the legs for the game let alone can reel off shots like it's nobody's business, but I will go deep tracks and say my favorite was the James Johnson double pump dunk in traffic. His dunks with people around him are spoiling an entire generation of fans at this point.
Players of the game:
Marc got his shot together, the team ran some good plays for him, but all was lost until Miller showed up and decided to gun sling his way out of the 16 point hole. He ended with 19 points, 4 of 5 for three pointers, 7of 9 for FGs, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and one steal.