It took 24 minutes for the Oklahoma City Thunder (35-19) to come alive on Thursday night versus the Memphis Grizzlies (22-34), turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 117-95 victory after a dominant second half. OKC shot 56 percent and outscored Memphis 66-42 in the final two quarters, building a fourth quarter lead that reached as much as 23. The victory is OKC’s ninth in the last 10 games.
Paul George led the way with 27 points (7/16 FG, 6/13 3P, 7/7 FT), and Russell Westbrook posted 15 points, 13 rebounds, and 15 assists for his 21st triple-double of the season (and eighth in a row). All in all, the Thunder shot 17-for-44 (38.6%) from long range and forced 24 turnovers to take care of business against the trade-depleted Grizzlies’ roster. Jerami Grant (20), Dennis Schroder (16), Steven Adams (11), and Terrance Ferguson (10) rounded out OKC’s double-digit scorers in the win.
Paul George & Russell Westbrook:
First Half. Though Memphis came in having traded away most of their rotation before the 2:00 PM CT trade deadline, someone forgot to tell them they were supposed to lay down from the get go in OKC. They led 53-51 after two quarters and held OKC to 37.5 percent shooting in the half. Certainly looked like a case of the Ewing Theory, but it wasn’t meant to last. Rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. was a bright spot in their blowout loss, scoring 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting. 20 of those points came before halftime.
Second Half. The Thunder dominated every facet of the second half, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 17-point lead in the third quarter. Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook combined to shoot 8-of-13 in the third, and OKC didn’t look back after taking control. The Thunder shot just under 58 percent in the fourth quarter (outscoring Memphis by 11) to shut it down convincingly.
Dialing Long Distance. The Thunder shot a whopping 44 three-pointers on the evening, 28 of which came in the first half. Though OKC ended up knocking down 38 percent of their total attempts, they were far too reliant on the long ball in the first two quarters. This game didn’t change until they cleaned that up after halftime. Let’s not try that again.
Russ & PG. Another outstanding performance from the Thunder’s superstar duo. George dropped 27 points, five rebounds, four assists, four steals, and shot 6-of-13 from long distance for a +22 on the evening. Westbrook recorded his eighth-straight triple double to move past Michael Jordan for the second-longest streak of all time. He shot 5-of-16, but appeared to be having a lot of fun on his way to a +18 in 33 minutes.
Jerami & Steve. Jerami Grant was superb yet again, scoring 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting — 3-of-4 from downtown. He finished up as a team-high +36 in his 30 minutes of action. Steven Adams had a quiet first half due to foul trouble, but made his presence known in the game-shifting third quarter. Big Kiwi score nine points of 4-of-4 shooting in the third to help OKC bust the game open.
Adams also stole the show in the pre-game by hitting picture-perfect dabs behind George and Westbrook while they were honored for making the All-Star Game:
Ferg Got Bounce. He was just 2-of-9 from long range for the game, but Terrance Ferguson completely redeemed himself with this Thunder Dunk of the Year candidate:
Back in action on Saturday evening in Houston. The Thunder and Rockets tip-off at 7:30 PM CST on ABC.