In the last meeting just a few games ago, the Thunder did not really even give the Grizzlies a chance. It was a lopsided affair for pretty much most of the game. The Grizzlies looked to get one more win before they head off for a much needed break.
The Grizzlies had some great defense to start the game against the Thunder, but they had some of the best ball movement that I have seen from them in quite a while. Tyreke was able to start with five quick points and they were moving the ball from side to side forcing the defense to react getting wide open looks from three.
They made their first three of five from behind the arc giving them an early 6 point lead with just over seven minutes left in the first quarter. Andrew Harrison played well in the first part of the first quarter, however the Grizzlies started to let the Thunder rebound the ball better and get to the basket anytime they wanted. Tyreke Evans lead the team with 7 points with just over five minutes left to play in the first quarter. Chandler Parsons checked in during the first quarter after not playing since December 27th and a few minutes into the game, nailed a stepback three.
The defense for the Grizzlies began to loosen up allowing Carmelo Anthony to score the basketball at will, putting in 11 points in the first quarter alone. The OKC Thunder were making everything from behind the arc at the end of the first quarter, shooting 50%, however they were not communicating well on switches allowing the Grizzlies to get a couple of easy baskets. At the end of the first quarter, the Grizzlies led by one point.
The Grizzlies and Thunder started the second quarter by trading three pointers. The offense started to pick up for both teams mid way through the second quarter as they traded baskets for the lead. The Grizzlies started to falter giving the Thunder a three point lead with just under seven minutes to go in the half. After Mario Chalmers came back in the game, the Thunder went on another run increasing their lead to 11 points.
Tyreke Evans got called for a technical foul after a no call and the Grizzlies let the game get away from them in the middle part of the second quarter. Paul George got hot and was making anything and everything. The Thunder went on a 22-2 run during the middle part of the second quarter and shot 6 for 9 from three in the same stretch. The Thunder built a 20 point lead at halftime after the Grizzlies lead by two in the second quarter.
The Grizzlies started the third quarter attacking the rim and scoring the basketball faster, going on a 8-4 run to start the second half. The Grizzlies were able to close the gap to 11 points with just over five minutes left to go in the third quarter. The Thunder went most of the third quarter without making a single three pointer, until Marc Gasol was forced to guard Patrick Patterson. He knocked one down with just over four minutes left to go.
The Grizzlies were still playing decent enough defense but could not quite get the offense going to cut into the lead more. Andrew Harrison tried a flop while guarding Russell Westbrook and then Westbrook dunked it hard. The Grizzlies then turned it over the next two possessions in a row. The Grizzlies were able to get a couple fast breaks points, but were still unable to close the gap because of the turnovers and offensive rebounds. After a terrible call on the Grizzlies for a blocking foul, Coach JB Bickerstaff was hit with a technical foul just before the end of the third quarter. The Grizzlies immediately went down and scored the basketball cutting the lead to single digits, it was an 8 point lead with one quarter remaining.
The fourth quarter started with another bad call, ending with another technical foul on Andrew Harrison. Tyreke Evans hit a three pointer to pull the Grizzlies within five points. Dillon Brooks then went down to the offensive end and made a step back jumper to pull the Grizzlies within three points of the lead. Oklahoma City put Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams back in the game to help stop the bleeding. The Thunder came back with a couple baskets of their own increasing the lead back to 7 points with just under eight minutes left to go in the game.
After a Jarell Martin jumper, they were able to get it back to a 3 point lead for the Thunder, it was a back and forth game most of the way through the fourth quarter. The Thunder are a hard team to get away from, especially when they have Paul George, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, they can get buckets at an exceptional rate. Andrew Harrison had an exceptional game, continuing to shoot the ball and make three pointers, shooting 5 for 5 from behind the arc and a career high in points. The Grizzlies were able to keep it at a four point game with 70 seconds left in the game. Both teams traded back to back three pointers and the Grizzlies called a timeout with 24 seconds to go with the ball on offense. Tyreke Evans was blocked on the offensive end and the Thunder escaped with the a win 121-114.