Thunder cruise past short-handed Grizzlies
Oklahoma City, OK (Sports Network) - The Oklahoma City Thunder didn't take it easy on the undermanned Memphis Grizzlies as they rolled to a 106-89 wire-to- wire victory at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Grizzlies parted ways with their leading scorer, Rudy Gay, in a three-team trade on Wednesday and were without their assets from the deal -- forwards Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
The Thunder, after a splitting a six-game road trip that ended in a loss to the Lakers on Sunday, were more than happy to jump on the Grizzlies early, as they built a comfortable 24-point halftime lead.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook added 21 and reserves Kevin Martin and Nick Collison chipped in 16 and 12 points, respectively, for the victors.
The Grizzlies, the league's stingiest defense coming in, allowed Oklahoma City to shoot 55.6 percent from the field, while they themselves made just 34.7 percent of their shots. Jerryd Bayless had a team-high 23 points in defeat.
Memphis started with a small lineup, with Bayless and Mike Conley in the backcourt and Tony Allen filling in as the small forward in place of Gay. The transition naturally got off to a rough start, as the Thunder connected on a scorching 12-of-15 (80 percent) from the field in a one-sided first frame, which ended with the hosts holding a 32-22 lead.
The Grizzlies did not record any defensive rebounds in the opening quarter and missed 11 straight field goals at one point in the second. A Durant jumper midway through the frame capped a 9-0 run for a 43-24 lead, and his floater just before the buzzer yielded a 58-34 cushion at the break.
The point total tied a first-half season-low for the Grizzlies, but they got a spark in the third quarter when Zach Randolph, who was held scoreless in the first half on an 0-for-9 shooting effort, finally got going.
Randolph made his first bucket during a 10-0 run that cut Memphis' deficit to 65-50 near the midway point, and the All-Star forward converted back-to-back buckets a little later as part of an 11-2 rally that made it an 11-point game.
It was 79-67 heading to the fourth, and Westbrook, who was on the bench for most of the third quarter, hit a pull-up jumper and set up Martin for an open 3-pointer to push the margin to 86-69 2 1/2 minutes in.
The closest Memphis got from there was 11.
Durant and Westbrook each had six assists ... Memphis shot 26 percent in the first half and 45 percent in the second ... Randolph grabbed 19 rebounds to go with nine points ... Conley, who missed Monday's win at Philadelphia with a sprained left ankle, netted 17 points ... Memphis has given up triple digits in back-to-back games for the first time this season ... Oklahoma City, which has won four in a row at home, is 10-1 in games following a loss ... Memphis had won two in a row and three of four as the visitor in this series, including a 107-97 win on Nov. 14 ... The rubber match of this three-game season series takes place in Memphis on March 20 ... The Grizzlies are back in action Friday at home against the Wizards ... Oklahoma City gets a day off before a road test at Cleveland on Saturday.
01/31 22:56:44 ET