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Oklahoma City played too many point guards against Memphis. After giving several opponents a surprising run of competitive basketball without starters George Hill and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander or reserve Theo Maledon, Gilgeous-Alexander and Maledon both returned to action in Memphis. SGA hadn’t missed a beat after a very precautionary timetable kept him out of the four prior games–22 points (including 8 free throws), 6 rebounds, and 3 rebounds for the Thunder star.
The game was close through three, as the frontcourt played nobly in Al Horford’s absence while he sat on the second night of a back-to-back. Darius Bazley (18 points), and Michael Jordan Muscala (21) led that charge, but OKC couldn’t hold up for 48 minutes. The tight travel schedule was compounded by the weather and flight issues, so the Thunder appeared understandably gassed as the Grizzlies pulled away with a 19-3 run early in the fourth quarter and never looked back.