(Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Oklahoma City had another classic, knock-down drag out fight between with the Memphis Grizzlies. Kevin Durant led the Thunder to a 98-95 victory with 32 points. Not before the Grizzlies would fight until the final second when Rudy Gay missed a half court heave that could have tied the game up.
Memphis kept fighting and clawing their way back into this ball game. Thunder would get a six or seven point lead, here would come the Grizzlies. Then the Thunder would go on a run, and it would just cycle, until almost basically the end of the ball game.
Oklahoma City led 89-77 with 5:24 remaining in the game. Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph led a furious charge to cut the lead many times to one possession. Includding a hail mary type three from Randolph with one second remaining. Kevin Durant would hit the free throws and ice the ball game, as the Thunder escape with the 98-95 victory.
One thing to credit the Thunder is they did not blink in the face of adversity. Memphis grabbed 3 one point leads, and every time, on the ensuing possession, Oklahoma City would find a way to push it to five or six points really quickly.
Post Game Grades:
Serge Ibaka: D
Ibaka came out hot, scoring four points really quick on his first two shots. Finished 0-6. Randolph basically did what he want with 24 points and 12 rebounds. Only real defense on Randolph when someone else was guarding him. Ibaka is really becoming an issue. I have no idea what’s going on.
Kevin Durant: A++++++++ (can I add more +’s?)
This guy is a flat out superstar. He showed it. Oklahoma City shot very poor. So poor, they probably should have lost this game. Durant game out with 19 second half points off 7 of 8 shooting. He basically carried this team on his back through most of the fourth quarter and basically all of the third quarter. Thunder scored 44 second half points, KD had 19 of them. You do the math.
Bench Support: Last night when the bench did anything but help, they were huge. Thunder bench accounted for 40 points. Not to mention at times when the game was close, it was James Harden, Eric Maynor and Daequan Cook who would help slowly push that lead out to a comfortable margin. Might be the best bench in the league.
Some thoughts from tonight
What the hell Westbrook, 0-13? I mean, maybe we can look here and see that he only committed four turnovers? He had six assists. What probably attributes more to the 0-13 is that he had zero steals. No easy baskets. No time for setting a rhythm. This might have been the worst game of his career. However, he came through clutch hitting the free throws in the end. Not to mention, that Jeremy Pargo ate his lunch. He was crossing him over, taking him off the dribble. Something we’re not used to seeing.
Only 10 turnovers for the Thunder. So far, season low.
Thabo Sefolosha was on it in the first quarter. Late in the second quarter, Sefolosha was the Thunder’s leading scorer with eight points.
Kendrick Perkins played well. Gasol had decent numbers, 16 pts 12 rebounds, but he was just 50% shooting from the field and struggled through out the game really.
Unsung hero of the game? Nazr Mohammed. Mohammed helped curtail Randolph and Gasol when everyone was in foul trouble. He finished a game high +9.
Grizzlies finished 2-16 from 3-point range. Thunder finished 10-15. That’s your ball game.
Kendrick Perkins also is no longer your NBA leading free throw shooter. Perkins finished 6-9 from the line. Pushing his average to 76.9% on the season. Great while it lasted.
James Harden was great again. He finished 5-11 from the floor for 20 points. He keeps getting better.
Impressive possessions by the Thunder midway through the fourth quarter to take their largest lead at 89-77. Harden, Cook and Durant came down on three straight possessions and hit three-point shots. Needed to called the Memphis Fire Department on that note.
Which, someone did. Final 5:24 of the ball game, Thunder went 2 for 8 from the field. They did hit five of seven free throws to help the win. Grizzlies shot six of 14 in the final 5 minutes.
Only 16 assists in the game. Just horrible. Thunder assisted on their first five shots from the field. However, just 11 assists on the next 24 made buckets.
Okay, I understand this sounds very positive on such an ugly win. However, it’s a win. In such a condensed season, you need to be able to forget the previous night and move on quicker than you usually would in a normal season. Dallas comes to the ‘Peake tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Get loud OKC!We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Don't forget to subsribe on Youtube! Our Podcast is on iTunes and on Stitcher. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!