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Career night for Abrines as OKC survives OT

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Abrines scored a career high 20 points starting in place of Paul George as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Memphis Grizzlies 102-101 in overtime on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Russell Westbrook was fouled with 4.4 seconds left in overtime, making both free throws to give Oklahoma City the victory.

Abrines hit big three after big three, nailing down five threes in the contentious game, which was a career high.

Oklahoma City now has won four of their last five games, improving to 12-13 on the season.

“It’s tough to win in this building.,” Westbrook said. “They still can play well here, so it’s a good win for us.”

It’s also Oklahoma City’s first road win since beating Milwaukee on Oct. 31.

More random things: It’s also Oklahoma City’s second largest comeback. The Thunder came back from 21 down at Orlando last year on March 29, 2017.

The road to a 20-point comeback starts with the other team nailing shots and the Thunder not defending. Those two things came up big. Tyreke Evans and the Grizzlies were popping threes as if they were the Golden State Warriors. Memphis built a 34-19 lead after the first quarter.



In overtime, the Grizzlies built a 98-95 lead with 2:26 remaining, but Alex Abrines nailed a three to equal the game up at 98-98.

Westbrook drove through the lane, hitting a lay up and pulling the Thunder within one with 13 seconds remaining.

Once again, free throws helped the Thunder tonight. JaMychal Green missed two free throws, leading to the Thunder’s victory.

The Grizzlies would continue piling it on the Thunder, taking a 50-30 lead with 5:08 left in the second quarter. It appeared a team that had lost 13 of their last 14 games and 16 of their last 19 games were going to run away from the Thunder. However, that’s when the Thunder decided to get back into the game.

Oklahoma City would go on a 13-0 run, cutting the deficit down the 50-43 with 1:38 left until halftime.

Memphis would lead 57-46 at halftime.

Oklahoma City would open the second half on an 18-6 run, taking their first lead at 64-63 lead with 4:24 left in the quarter. From there on out, the Grizzlies and the Thunder would ride the seesaw, going back and forth. Neither team would have more than a five-point lead.

The Thunder took a 67-66 lead after the third quarter.

Carmelo Anthony tipped in a missed bucket with 2:00 left in the fourth quarter, giving the Thunder a 91-88 lead.

Anthony had an opportunity to give the Thunder a three-point lead but missed the front end of two free throws. Memphis would one up the Thunder, missing 2-of-4 free throws in the final seconds. The free throws tied the game up at 92-all.

 

Westbrook, who was 7-of-29 shooting, also went 1-of- from three-point range. He also grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out 14 assists for his eighth triple-double of the season. Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams led the Thunder with 21 points and nine rebounds each.

Oklahoma City returns home for a showdown with the Charlotte Hornets on Monday evening. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. and we’ll have your coverage all over your social media and here.

KEYS TO THE GAME

Turnovers: A

Oklahoma City only turned it over 10 times. They did a quality job of taking care of the ball against a team that was getting hot from three. The Thunder only had five turnovers in the second half and overtime. They also were good in only allowing 10 points off those turnovers.

Bench: B

While the bench scoring was really low, only 18 points, but it was in the manner they would score. Oklahoma City’s Raymond Felton came on hot when it mattered the most. Finding Josh Huestis for three, nailing back-to-back jumpers and then finding Huestis for a cutter, the Thunder held their largest margin at a five-point advantage

Free Throws: F

Oklahoma City finished the game 18-of-31 from the free throw line and once again an abysmal free throw performance almost cost the Thunder a victory. Anthony and Westbrook finished a combined 10-of-16 at the free throw line. They want to be superstars and leaders of their teams, they have to make the free throws.

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