Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant might be Twitter pals, but that didn't mean that their matchup tonight would be friendly.
They traded several dunks and showboat layups, upping each other while both kept their under-performing teams in the game, with Rudy dropping 25 of the Grizzlies 86 and Durantuala getting 30 of OKC's 84 points.
And while both young stars made highlight reels of their own, this game wasn't exactly the hottest on League Pass last night. O.J. Mayo couldn't get anything going, scoring just 5 points on 1-12 shooting; the Grizzlies bench only scored 2 points; three of the Thunder's starters combined to score just 18 points, that's including Russell Westbrook and his 5 turnovers to 3 assists.
Of course there were bright spots. Hasheem Thabeet might not have scored, but he grabbed 9 rebounds and rejected 4 shots in 23 relatively foul-less minutes. Zach scored 25 and had 4 assists also, though he didn't double-double, and Marc had a solid 15 with 13 boards, 2 blocks and 2 steals. Even Mike Conley looked acceptable with his range seeming to be coming back; he's still not creating shots, but at least he's knocking them down now.
But both squads played it hard down to the wire, when O.J. Mayo forced an attempted game winner with 11 seconds left on the shot clock but 23 seconds in the game -- too late to get the ball back. Jeff Green blocked the layup straight up, only to have Marc Gasol straight rip the ball out of his hands and get the Grizzlies another look.
It was Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant this time, a fitting showdown. Rudy crossed once, then again, then back through his legs. He took a step left and jump-stepped into a 20 foot jump shot that slapped the back end of the cylinder. KD got another chance to win it coming back, but just couldn't hit the impossible shot. Rudy Gay pulled it out in the end, which begs the question, "Why can he and O.J. not both be feature scorers again?"