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Full Recap: Westbrook Carries Thunder to Win Over Grizzlies

Russell Westbrook built on his MVP case on Wednesday night when he dropped 45 in a win over the Grizzlies.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Memphis Grizzlies fell at home on Wednesday night to a valiant Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.

Mike Conley was missed by his team on Wednesday night.

The Grizzlies welcomed the Oklahoma City Thunder to town and were without their leader in Conley, who suffered a cut over his eye against the Spurs.

And his would-be adversary Westbrook lit the Grizzlies up.

Memphis had little to no answer for the MVP candidate as he erupted for a near triple-double. The Grizz fought admirably behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, but fell in a close game by a 103-100 score.

Westbrook’s Big Night

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like every night is a big one for Westbrook these days.

The incredible point guard finished with 45 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds, and five steals in a performance that saw him completely dictate the game. He also was efficient in his shooting. Westbrook shot 14-for-25 from the field and 8-for-13 from three-point range.

His speed and relentlessness allowed him to do whatever he wanted offensively. Whether it was attacking the rim or draining shots from deep, Russ was 100% locked in on this night. He set up what seemed like the entirety of the Thunder offense and accounted for over half of their points, between scoring and assists.

Without Conley’s ability to dictate the pace of a game and his defensive skills, the Grizz were as vulnerable as ever to a mega performance from Westbrook, and that is what he delivered.

Aside from Westbrook, the Thunder shot 23-for-60 from the field and 6-for-18 from three-point range. This was as close to a one-man-band as it gets in the NBA.

The Grizzlies did not play terrible defense in this game. They did a pretty good job of containing OKC’s supporting cast. But it was on this night when they had a soft spot without Conley.

And no NBA predator knows how to go for the kill better than Westbrook.

An Odd Team Performance

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Considering the fact that Conley was out, Memphis didn’t play so badly.

It was a throwback night in some senses, in that Gasol and Randolph led the team. ‘Big Spain’ led the Grizz with 23 points, while adding five boards, five assists, and four blocks. He protected the paint well and created some for others. It was another day at the office for Gasol against a good defensive center in Steven Adams.

Randolph led a second-unit that did not have a bad night.

Z-Bo scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Troy Daniels also provided a bit of a spark in limited minutes. He scored eight points on 3-of-5 shooting in just 14 minutes of play. The Memphis bench outscored the Thunder bench, 38-28.

Outside of Gasol and Randolph, the Grizzlies failed to establish a reliable third scorer in this game.

Tony Allen was probably the closest thing to that. He scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting while also grabbing seven boards. ‘The Grindfather’ also chipped in four assists and two steals in a solid performance.

But with Conley gone, the offensive player that needed to step up was Vince Carter on the wing. And he struggled. Carter scored just 10 points on 10 shots and was 2-of-7 from three-point land.

His struggles from the perimeter were reflected throughout the team. They shot 34.6 percent from downtown, which is not awful, but it likely would have been better with Conley out there.

Andrew Harrison stepped in and played hard but was unspectacular. He scored 12 points and dished out three assists in 37 minutes of play. He took just seven shots also. Harrison did not lose this game for Memphis but he just didn’t have the playmaking ability that Memphis needs from its point guard.

Looking Ahead

With this loss, the Grizzlies have now lost three in a row.

While this one was not a game to hang their heads about, the Grizzlies need a win against the Knicks on Saturday. There are just three regular season games left and the team needs to gather some momentum before the playoffs begin.

But that will be hard to do without Conley. Here’s hoping he can return soon. Because it’s hard to believe that he couldn’t have swung this game in Memphis’ favor.

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