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Postgame Report: Grizzlies fight but fall to Oklahoma City
The Memphis Grizzlies fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-114., the team’s seventh straight defeat, on Wednesday night at FedExForum in their final game before the All-Star Break.
Paul George led Oklahoma City with 28 points (10-15 FG, 6-9 3P), with 22 of his total points coming in the first half. Russell Westbrook finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds and a game-high 15 assists for his 17th triple-double this season. Carmelo Anthony added 19 points (7-18 FG, 4-10 3P).
After 13 lead changes, Memphis had a 42-40 advantage with 8:09 to play in the first half before Oklahoma City went on a 26-4 run over the next 6:03 to take a 20-point lead. Oklahoma City put up 73 points through the first two frames and maintained a 20-point halftime advantage.
After trailing as many as 22 in the third quarter, the Grizzlies began chomping at the lead, as they began the fourth quarter in a 10-point hole (94-84). Memphis would come within a single-point of tying scores twice in the final five minutes of action (104-103 at 5:00 and 115-114 at 47.1), but were unable to regain a lead as the Thunder scored six unanswered to close out the game.
The Grizzlies got a career-high 28 points (10-16 FG) from Andrew Harrison, who was also a career-high 5-of-5 from beyond the arc. Tyreke Evans added 23 points (8-18 FG, 4-7 3P) and a team-high nine rebounds. Jarell Martin finished with 17 points (7-12 FG) and eight rebounds off the bench. Chandler Parsons returned to action after missing the previous 20 games with right knee soreness and saw 12 minutes of action, finishing with five points.
The Grizzlies will be back at FedExForum next Friday when they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers for their lone trip to Memphis this season. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. CT. Tune in to FOX Sports Southeast presented by Pinnacle Financial Partners or listen on 92.9 FM ESPN.
Key Stats of the Night
- Oklahoma City outscored the Grizzlies 39-20 in the second quarter, shooting 11-of-18 (.611) from the field and 8-of-12 (.667) from three-point range. Additionally, the Thunder assisted on 10 of its 11 makes.
Key Run of the Night
- With Memphis leading 42-40 with 8:09 remaining in the first half, Oklahoma City went on a 26-4 run over the next 6:03 to take a 20-point lead. Prior to the run, there had been 13 lead changes and six ties.
On the effort going into the All-Star Break
That’s who they are. Every single opportunity that there is, when odds are stacked against them, leads are being built, they never quit. Again, it speaks to their character, the guys that they are, their commitment to one another. At the half, they could’ve easily laid down, packed it in, and got ready for vacation but you see time and time again that’s not their make up. That’s not who they are. We may have our shortcomings, but their effort and their competitive nature… I couldn’t be more proud of the guys in that locker room.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On what he wants to see accomplished by season’s end
Growth. That’s it. Everything from an individual standpoint, guys have to take steps forward. From a team standpoint, we have to take steps forward. So regardless of the situation, the foundation that we’re trying to build is one. How competitive can we be every night and how unselfish can we be every night? That’s the standard and then from that point, there has to be growth individually and as a team.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On Andrew Harrison
After the Atlanta game, we had a hard conversation with Drew. Then the next night, before the Utah game, we were very positive with Drew. Told him to believe in himself and play with that confidence of who he has always been. I think growing up, he was one of the best guards in the country since he was probably in the eighth grade or something. That guy is not lost. I think because of the ups and downs and the things that he’s been through, people have taken shots at his confidence. But Andrew is a really good basketball player and Andrew has to believe in himself. You saw the performance he had against Utah that night. Unfairly, I’ll take responsibility for it, the first Oklahoma City game he was sick and didn’t practice with us a couple of days before, so his minutes should have probably been shorter. So I take responsibility for that, coming through the sickness and all that. But then again, tonight you saw the confidence and the belief in himself. You saw the shots he was making down the stretch and the plays he was making down the stretch. He just has to be that guy over and over and over again. In this league, you see the difference and the switch flip when guys believe in themselves and that confidence grows. That’s what separates the entirety of this league, is the belief in yourself to go along with your skills.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On Chandler Parsons
We’ll work him in and see how he handles it. See how he tolerates it and then just like everybody else, you’ve got to earn your minutes. We’ve got to give him an opportunity to play some to get the kinks out and shake some of that rust off. But he’ll earn his minutes.-- Coach Bickerstaff
On what got the team back in the game in the second half
More ball pressure, being more disruptive on the ball. If we play off the ball with players that talented and with that much space in the paint and a big guy rolling through the middle, you’re always going to be on your heels and at their mercy. That was the emphasis, put pressure on the ball, continue to move the ball on offense to find the open guy and play as a team.-- Marc Gasol
On how much he needs this All Star break
I don’t need it. I feel healthy, probably healthiest I’ve been in as long as I can remember going into the break. Obviously, it’s not the situation that I’m used to, but as far as my body, I’m very thankful because I feel really healthy.-- Marc Gasol
On playing better in the second half
We’re not going to give up. The season hasn’t been going how we want it to, but we’re definitely going to keep fighting.-- Andrew Harrison
On facing a tough defensive team
I knew I was playing against [Russell] Westbrook and I knew that he was going to bring it, so he just makes you pick up your level of play. I was making my shots tonight and teammates responded to me. It was a good game, but definitely wanted a win.-- Andrew Harrison
- Andrew Harrison set new career highs in points (28), field goals (10-15 FG), three-pointers (5-5 3P). Harrison has set career highs in scoring in two straight home games (and two of his last three games overall).
- Tyreke Evans (23 points) posted his 24th game of 20-or-more points while tallying nine rebounds and seven assists.
- Jarell Martin posted his third career game with at least 17 points and eight rebounds. His 17 points tied his second-highest career scoring total.
- Paul George (28 points) has led the Thunder in scoring for five straight games. George scored 22 of his 28 points in the first half and shot 10-of-15 from the field and 6-of-9 from three-point range. In the second quarter, George was 4-of-4 (all threes) with 13 points.
- The loss marks seven straight for the Grizzlies. Memphis heads into the All-Star Break at 18-38, marking its lowest winning percentage at the break since the 2008-09 season (15-37, .288).