The Oklahoma City Thunder deftly handled the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday night, besting them 106-89.
Kevin Durant led all scorers with 27 points, while Russell Westbrook dished out 21 of his own.
The Thunder led by as many as 26 before the Grizzlies pushed back and cut it to ten points going into the 4th quarter. They did not have enough steam to keep the comeback going however, and they fizzled out in the end to lose by 17.
For Memphis, Jerryd Bayless had 23 points, while Mike Conley and Marc Gasol helped out with 17 and 16 points, respectively.
After strongly commanding this game, the Thunder had a mini meltdown coming out of the half that resulted in Westbrook riding the pine for getting into it with his teammates and head coach Scott Brooks. The Grizzlies capitalized on his absence and made it a game again, but it was ultimately not enough to overcome the Thunder.
When Westbrook finally came back in at the start of the 4th quarter, he sank a pull-up jumper and then set up Kevin Martin for consecutive wide open three pointers in transition. With that, the nail firmly inserted itself in the coffin of Memphis’ comeback attempt.
The Grizzlies–who are one of the three teams to have previously bested OKC at home–played short-handed on Thursday, as they await for the newly acquired Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis to arrive and be cleared for play.
The Thunder are just returning home from a six-game road trip up and down the West Coast, and they certainly played like they were on their own turf. The team nailed its first nine shots to build an early lead and they never looked back. When Martin drilled a triple from the left side of the arc, he gave OKC their first double-digit lead with nearly three minutes left in the first quarter.
Memphis, a team that normally is very difficult to score against, had absolutely no answers for Oklahoma City; the Thunder made 61-percent of their shots, and they made it look easy.
The Thunder advance to 35-11, with an impressive 20-3 home record. The Grizzlies fall to 29-16 but are still sitting pretty as the 4th best team in the West. Next, Oklahoma City plays the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sat., Feb. 2nd.