Regular Season Recap: Thunder at Grizzlies

THUNDER 98

GRIZZLIES 95
1 Largest deficit the Thunder faced in the game.

3 Shots blocked by Serge Ibaka, including a huge one in the fourth quarter.

4 Lead changes in the game.

10 3-pointers the Thunder hit, five of which came in the fourth quarter

11 Players Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks used in the first quarter.

12 Thunder’s biggest lead in the game.

12.5 3-point shooting percentage of the Grizzlies.

13 Field goal attempts the Grizzlies missed to open the game.

19 Field goal shooting percentage by the Grizzlies in the first quarter (4 of 21).

23 Combined free-throw attempts in the first quarter.

41 Points from the Thunder bench.

71 Combined number of free-throw attempts in the game.

The Thunder returns to action Thursday night when it takes on the Dallas Mavericks in the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Game time is 7 p.m. and will air live exclusively on TNT.

QUOTABLE: “Normally you don’t win on the road when you shoot that type of percentage, but you have a chance to win when you compete like that.” – Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks.

GAME IN REVIEW

RECAP:
It was expected to be a close, physical game and it was.

Picking up where they left off in May, the Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies battled one another from start to finish before four free throws from Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in the final 4.0 seconds sealed a 98-95 victory.

In all, the teams combined for 46 personal fouls, 71 free-throw attempts and 90 rebounds.

“We played as hard as we can play,” Thunder Head Coach Scott Brooks said.

The Thunder set a defensive tone early in the game and limited the Grizzlies to just four field goals and 19 percent shooting in the first quarter. But the Grizzlies were just as aggressive on the defensive end, setting the stage for what would be a 48-minute test of will in a game where both teams shot under 40 percent from the field.

“You come to expect a game as physical as this game was tonight when you play against Memphis and vice versa when they play against us,” Brooks said. “That was a heck of a game. Both teams gave it everything they had. The shooting percentage was not a reflection of bad offense, it was just tough shots. Every possession was just very difficult to get off a good shot.”

The Thunder appeared to grab control of the game midway through the fourth quarter when it hit four 3-pointers in a span of 3:26. Daequan Cook started the outburst at 8:51 with a three that put the Thunder back on top, 78-76. He added another in a 14-1 run that also included 3s from Kevin Durant and James Harden. As well as an Eric Maynor lay-up.

But the Grizzlies would not fold, slowly chopping away at the deficit and pulling within two twice in the final minute and within one with 1.8 to play. Westbrook’s two free throws with 4.0 seconds left push the Thunder’s lead to 96-92 and Durant’s pair with 1.0 seconds left made it 98-95.

“We made some threes tonight, 10 threes and we got the free-throw line, which we normally do because we are an attack, aggressive team. But we made the threes,” Brooks said.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, FIRST HALF:
Perkins, taking a pass at the top of the key, drives hard to the rim and is fouled. He nails both free throws. … Thabo Sefolosha hustling back on the defensive end to force Zach Randolph to alter – and miss – a lay-in. … Russell Westbrook, drawing two defenders to him in the lane, rises and dishes a pass to Sefolosha, whose jump hook gives the Thunder a 10-7. … Kevin Durant rejecting a shot that bounces off the glass and into Westbrook’s hands, who finds Durant at the other end for a reverse dunk. … Nazr Mohammed setting a pick at the top of the key to free Eric Maynor, who drives the lane and kicks out to James Harden for a 3. … Harden going hard at, and then under, Marc Gasol for a bucket a 30-22 lead. Memphis immediately calls time out. … Perkins setting a screen at the top of the key for Durant, then spinning toward the basket for a pass and tough basket and 3-point play.

PLAYS THE BOXSCORE WON’T SHOW, SECOND HALF:
Kevin Durant, breaking up a fast-break by slapping the ball out of the hands and off the foot of Tony Allen. … Perkins and Serge Ibaka working together on the defensive end against Randolph, with Perkins forcing the Grizzlies’ forward to his left and Ibaka rejecting the shot, sending the Thunder off and running. … Durant driving hard to the basket and kicking out to Harden at the top of the key. Harden pump fakes his defender and drives the lane and dishes to Nick Collison for an uncontested dunk. … Maynor with a steal and immediately pushes the ball up-court before pulling up for a jumper and an 80-76 lead. … Daequan Cook grabbing a defensive rebound and at the other end, taking a pass from Durant on the wing and draining a 3. … Collison keeping a defensive rebound alive with two taps before the ball finally lands in the hands of Cook. At the other end, Harden drains a 3 – the fifth of seven treys in the fourth quarter – and the Thunder leads by 12, 89-77. … Ibaka, dropping down to provide help in the lane, sends a shot by Rudy Gay out of bounds.