Westbrook Makes History, Thunder Beats Grizzlies in Regular Season Finale
The Thunder finished the regular season in victorious fashion on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, riding a historic effort from Russell Westbrook to a 137-123 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Needing 16 rebounds to clinch a triple-double season average, Westbrook responded with 6 points, 20 rebounds, and 19 assists to make history for the second consecutive season. Paul George dropped a cool 40-piece on 8-of-14 shooting from downtown. Steven Adams chipped in 24 points and 7 rebounds.
Despite falling behind by six in the early minutes, it didn’t take long for the Thunder offense to get rolling. Oklahoma City scored 38 points in the first quarter, followed by 39 in the second, scoring a season-high 77 points on 67 percent shooting in the first half. All told, OKC held a 20-point advantage at the break.
Although the Grizzlies found their offense in the second half — and trimmed the Thunder lead to single-digits with 3:12 to play — OKC simply had too much firepower down the stretch. The Thunder shot 55 percent on the night, went 20-of-43 from three-point land, and heads into the playoffs on a three-game winning streak.
The win pushes the Thunder’s record to 48-34 to end the regular season. The team will now wait for the result of tonight’s Jazz/Blazers game to find out if it will end up in the fourth or sixth seed. Either way, OKC will face Utah in the first round.
With Portland’s 102-93 victory over the Jazz, Oklahoma City has officially secured the 4-seed in the Western Conference. Home court advantage is achieved against Utah in the first round. What a strange journey this season continues to be.
55.3: The Thunder shot 47-of-85, good for 55.3 percent. Memphis hit 48 percent of their shot attempts.
20: OKC blitzed Memphis from deep, hitting 20-of-43 from distance. That’s 46.5 percent.
+3: The Thunder won 45-42 on the boards. Memphis had a 10-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
32: OKC handed out 32 assists on the night — that’s a lot. Russ had 19 of those by himself.
+10: The Thunder won 30-20 in transition.
Westbrook’s Triple-Double History
If there was any question about Westbrook chasing the 16 rebounds needed to average a triple-double again, he put them to rest rather quickly. The reigning MVP had four boards after one quarter, 11 at halftime, and reached 16 at the 9:20 mark of the third quarter. Quick work.
The history-making moment:
It was obvious what he/his teammates were trying to do, yet it didn’t have much impact on the overall play. The Thunder was an offensive powerhouse with Russ in rebound/distribute mode — a story illustrated by the 137 points that only featured 6 from Westbrook himself.
His final stat line and full highlights:
6 pts, 20 reb, 19 ast, 2 stl, 2/9 FG, +17
If tonight was any indication of what playoff Paul George might look like, that’s great news for the Thunder. The recently-struggling All-Star went bananas in the regular season finale, canning 8-of-14 attempts from downtown.
His stat line and highlights:
40 pts, 4 reb, 2 stl, 13/20 FG, 8/14 3P, +15
In perhaps his final home regular season game, Nick Collison was given a great deal of pre-game love from Westbrook. Here’s Russ addressing the crowd before the contest began:
Hair Jordan ended up seeing two minutes of action, scoring one point in the process. If this was the last time we see him in uniform, it’s only right it comes during a win.
Big Steve. Steven Adams got whatever he wanted. The big man scored 24 points, grabbed 7 rebounds, and shot 9-of-12 from the floor. He was a +17 on the night.
Melo. Just 23 minutes of action for Carmelo Anthony tonight. He scored 10 points on a 1-of-5 clip from downtown.
Brewer. Corey Brewer had 17 points on 7-of-13 shooting before taking a scary fall in the late stages of the fourth quarter. He was taken to the back and did not return. Early word is he is dealing with a knee sprain — something to keep a keen eye on as the playoffs begin.
Jerami & T-Ferg. Jerami Grant and Terrance Ferguson were both effective off the bench. Grant had 12 points on 3-of-4 shooting, finishing as a +11. Ferguson had 12 points on a 4-of-8 clip from deep, wrapping up his night as a +9.
The Other Guys. Six Grizzlies scored in double-figures: Dillon Brooks (36 — he was great), Kobi Simmons (15), Ben McLemore (14), Mario Chalmers (13), Omari Johnson (13), and Ivan Rabb (12).