Dec 29, 2016; Memphis, TN, USA; Memphis Grizzlies forward JaMychal Green (0) shoots in the first half as Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter (11) defends at FedExForum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Westbrook was ejected in the third quarter, arguing calls and that was the least of Oklahoma City’s worries.
The Thunder were spanked by the Memphis Grizzlies 114-80 on Thursday night in front of a sold out FedExForum.
Oklahoma City drops to 20-13 on the season.
“Both sides can be physical, ” Westbrook said. “It wasn’t like that. One was more physical than the other. That’s how it ended up.”
It was a sign early on the Thunder were going to struggle as they turned it over six times, all tied to Westbrook and they were down early. Oklahoma City had a slim 1-point lead but nothing of significance. The Thunder struggled and did it all evening long.
Oklahoma City starters not named Westbrook finished a combined 12 points on 4-of-20.
Memphis took their first double digit lead off a couple of free throws, going up 47-37 with 2:52 left in the second quarter. The wheels continued to fall off.
Oklahoma City trailed 55-38 at halftime.
It seemed like Oklahoma City wanted to come back. There was signs of life and hope early in the third quarter. It all went down the drain when Westbrook was given double technicals with 6:41 left in the third.
“I don’t even think he warranted to be thrown out,” Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said.
Originally, Westbrook was given a tech for his reaction to a non-call. During a free throw shooting situation, he continued with official Brian Forte and received a second one. That one sent him to the locker room.
“I feel like I don’t get the benefit of the doubt most of the time,” Westbrook said. I get so many techs for talking. I can’t even say nothing when I’m getting hammered going to the damn basket throughout the games. I just don’t get ref’d the same way as other people and I don’t appreciate it.”
Westbrook finished with 21 points, five rebounds and zero assists. It’s the first time since Nov. 8, 2013 against Detroit where Westbrook did not have a single assist. It’s only his third game without an assist in his career.
Enes Kanter finished with 19 points on the bench.
Memphis led by as many as 37 as Troy Daniels nailed a bunch of threes in garbage time.
Oklahoma City shot 38 free throw attempts, tying a season high. They had done it twice before this season.
Alex Abrines nailed two threes in the fourth en route to 10 points.
Oklahoma City will get this out of their mind quickly and get ready for the Los Angeles Clippers coming to town for a New Year’s Eve showdown on Saturday. Tip-off at the ‘Peake is scheduled for 7 p.m.
KEYS TO THE GAME
Defend the rim: A
The Grizzlies shot only 48.4 percent at the rim tonight. That’s the only shining moment for the Thunder tonight. They were better than what Oklahoma City normally does on the season and then they defended better than what Memphis does normally.
Go Fast: F
Only 74 shots for the Thunder, a cool 13 under their season average. It’s what Memphis wanted. Westbrook and everyone played right into the hand’s of Memphis. This cannot happen again.
Score points: F
Oklahoma City only scored 80 points, a season low. The Thunder really weren’t ready for this game it seemed from the opening tip Oklahoma City has to regroup and play much better on Saturday.