With Memphis slipping the past couple of games, they found themselves 2.5 games back of the sixth seed in the playoffs behind the OKC Thunder. So tonight’s game was a big opportunity. On the other side, the Thunder were looking to strengthen their hold on the sixth seed, and Russell Westbrook was looking to make history with his 42nd triple-double of the season, to break Oscar Robertson’s all-time record.
To start the game, the Grizzlies fell behind 6-0, and it looked like Memphis was coming out the gate slow. However, Memphis gained their first lead (14-13) thanks to a Vince Carter 3 pointer. Grizzlies gained a small lead, but the Thunder came roaring back, mainly thanks to Russell Westbrook, and snatched the lead back. At the end of the first quarter, Memphis trailed OKC 34-27. Both teams shot really well in the first quarter, as the Grizzlies shot 50% from the field, and the Thunder shot 59.1%. Marc Gasol led the Grizzlies with 10 points in the period, and Russell Westbrook had 9 for the Thunder.
In the second quarter, the Thunder maintained a decent lead, but Memphis didn’t let the match get out of hand. Russell Westbrook started to carry the Thunder and helped them regain momentum every time that Memphis tried to grab the lead. The Grizzlies really struggled in the fastbreak points department, as they trailed in this category 23-6 at the half. Overall, Memphis’ defense was just sloppy in the first two quarters of the game. So at the half, the Thunder led Memphis 57-50. Westbrook was on his way to a triple-double with 15 points, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 3 rebounds, but he still had a ways to go. For Memphis, Marc Gasol had 14 points, and Tony Allen had 8.
Midway through the third quarter, Memphis made a run to cut the deficit to 4. However, Russell Westbrook continued his tear, and the Grizzlies were unable to stop him. Westbrook helped push the lead back up to 10 points, and Memphis found themselves in another third quarter rut midway through the period. However, Memphis responded to the Thunder’s punches with a run of their own to keep the game within reach, in part thanks to players like Andrew Harrison, who had 12 points on the night. Also, Zach Randolph had a massive stretch at the end of the third and had 13 points and 6 rebounds going into the fourth. At the end of the third, Memphis still trailed the Thunder, 79-74.
In the fourth quarter, Memphis came out and regained the lead thanks to a Zach Randolph three pointer. Troy Daniels caught fire in the fourth quarter from three, and he had 8 points on the night in 14 minutes of play. Down the stretch, each team wrestled for the lead. With less than 2 minutes left, it was all tied up at 95. Then, with less than a minute remaining in the game, the Grizzlies trailed by 1. A Vince Carter three came up short, and Russell Westbrook buried a three to give them a 4 point lead with 14 seconds left. Marc Gasol lost the ball on the following possession, but Adams missed both free throws. Then, Andrew Harrison made a three right after, and the Grizz were down 3 with .8 seconds left. However, Memphis was unable to even get a shot off, so they fell to the Thunder, 103-100.
For Memphis, Marc Gasol had 23 points, and Zach Randolph ended up with 20 points and 9 rebounds. For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook had an impressive 45 points, 10 assists, and 9 rebounds, but he didn’t break the all-time record. He was just 1 rebound short. Also, Victor Oladipo had 15 points. As a side note, the Grizzlies did a much better job of limiting the Thunder’s fastbreak points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to grab the win
Now, the Grizzlies will prepare to face the New York Knicks Friday night in the Forum as they continue to grapple for playoff seeding.