Russell Westbrook had another triple-double and Paul George led everyone in scoring as the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 117-95 on Thursday night.

Memphis, without a handful of players as they were very active at the trade deadline, only played eight players and suited 10. It was enough to scare the Thunder in the first half, but the second half, the Thunder’s depth and tenacity took over.

Memphis led 53-51 at the break and it almost felt as if the Thunder were going to once again play down to their competition. They were going to struggle in a game where they were favored by 13½ coming into the game.

The third quarter magic fixed that.

Oklahoma City outscored Memphis 32-19 and it was off to the races. They led by as many as 17 in the third quarter before Memphis would fight it back to single digits on two occasions. Westbrook and George did their magic and kept the Grizzlies at a comfortable distance for the remainder.

Oklahoma City shot a lot of threes in the win. They nailed 17-of-44 from the field, 38 percent. A large part of the threes came in the first half and it’s what Memphis was giving the Thunder. They would run zone, clog the paint and force the Thunder to beat them from deep. It’s what happened. The Thunder knocked down 11 in the first half and six in the second half. You don’t typically want a team like the Thunder to take that many threes but sometimes you have to take what the defense is giving you. The made threes opened up the paint and the scoring exploded in the second half.

Westbrook finished with 15 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. He now has the longest triple-double streak of his career and is one short of Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record of nine straight set in 1968. Westbrook’s career tally is now at 125 career triple-doubles. He’s done 21 this year alone, which is the 10th most in a single season.

Paul George scored 27 points, including six made threes. Jerami Grant added 20 for Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City now has won 9-of-10 and are one of the hottest teams in the NBA.

The Thunder improved to 35-19 on the year. It’s the most games they’ve been over .500 since Jan. 13, 2016. Oklahoma City found themselves in the Western Conference finals that season.

The Thunder will now travel to Houston for a Western Conference showdown on Saturday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on ABC. The Thunder will need a huge road win here to keep their streak alive.

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Chuck Chaney

Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
Member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.