THE FACTS: The Oklahoma City Thunder let a 26-point lead dwindle down to 10 points before pushing back in the fourth quarter and cruising past the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies 106-89.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook led the Thunder with 27 and 21 points. Westbrook got off to a hot shooting start and then was benched for almost eight minutes in the third quarter because he got hot-headed on the court with a teammate and on the bench with an assistant coach.
Memphis only suited up nine players after trading away leading scorer Rudy Gay but guard Jerryd Bayless made up for Gay absence by scoring 23 points to lead the Grizzlies. Mike Conley added 17 points and Marc Gasol put in 16. Zach Randolph had a terrible shooting night (4-for-17) but a huge night on the boards (19 rebounds).
Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin was 3-for-4 on threes and scored 16 points and forward Nick Collison was 4-for-5 and scored 12.
Westbrook filled the stat sheet with those 21 points plus nine rebounds, six assists and one hissy-fit. He barked at teammate Thabo Sefolosha for making an offensive mistake that led to a turnover and then argued with assistant coach Mo Cheeks before going to the locker room to cool off.
QUOTABLE: "There was a discussion on the court between Russell and Thabo and Russell needed to calm down. It was nothing that hasn't happened before with any of our players. We're an emotional group. Russell was frustrated with himself. He just had to regroup. He's a very emotional guy, but he has to be able to control his frustration."
-- Thunder head coach Scott Brooks.
THE STAT: The Thunder held Memphis to just 18.5 percent shooting and 12 points in the second quarter. The Grizzlies finished the first half at 26 percent.
TURNING POINT: After Westbrook came back on the floor to start the fourth quarter the Thunder went on a quick 7-2 run to push a 12-point margin back out to a more comfortable 17. Westbrook seemed calm and in control until he left with the rest of the starters with 3:50 to go in the game and OKC up by 18.
QUOTABLE III: "I thought we came back in the second half and looked like ourselves. We competed and had multiple chances to really get back in the game. We were down 10 a couple of times and made some bad decisions and then the Thunder hit some big shots."
-- Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins.
HOT: Conley said before the game, "we'll have our hands full," guarding the Thunder and that was certainly the case in the early going as OKC hit nine straight shots to open the game (the best shooting start in the NBA this season) and finished the first quarter at 80 percent (12-for-15...Westbrook was 5-for-6 (11 points) in the first quarter...Bayless was also 5-for-6 in the first quarter (12 points)...Randolph was 4-for-6 and scored all of his nine points in the third quarter...Durant was 5-for-8 (14 points) in the second half.
NOT: The Grizzlies, missing their leading scorer, began the game shooting just 27.8 percent (5-for-18)...Memphis finished the first half scoring just 34 points (tying a season-low) on just 26 percent shooting ( a season-low)...Randolph was 0-for-9 (0 points) in the first half...Westbrook was 2-for-7 (five points) in the second half.
INSIDE THE ARENA: Legendary former Oklahoma State basketball coach Eddie Sutton was at the game to watch former OSU star Tony Allen. The two have remained close since Allen left O-State for the NBA in 2004.
GOOD MOVE: In the second quarter Thunder backup center Hasheem Thabeet made a nice move and blocked a shot from Randolph. Must have felt especially good for Thabeet who was drafted by the Grizzlies.
BAD MOVE: Westbrook flashed his temper in the third quarter when he appeared to get upset with teammate Sefolosha. Westbrook had wanted Sefolosha to make a cut but he didn't make the move and it led to a Thunder turnover. The two argued going back up the court and Westbrook asked out of the game. Brooks took him out moments later with 7:54 left in the quarter. Westbrook sat down at the end of the bench and argued with assistant coach Cheeks, threw a towel, knocked over a chair and walked down the tunnel toward the Thunder locker room with Cheeks following. Westbrook did not return to the game until the start of the fourth quarter. During the time he was out the Thunder lead shrank from 21 down to 10 points.
NOTABLE: Oklahoma City is now 10-1 this season in games following a loss. The Thunder hadn't played since losing to the Lakers on Sunday. The team is now 45-10 in bounce-back games over the last three seasons.
UP NEXT: For the Grizzlies, Friday vs. Washington, Tuesday vs. Phoenix, Wednesday @ Atlanta. For the Thunder, Saturday @ Cleveland, Monday vs. Dallas, Wednesday vs. Golden State.