The Thunder finished the season on a high note with a must win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Oklahoma City had to win to avoid being the 8th seed in the playoffs. Even though the Grizzlies are injured and having a rough season, they still came out to play. It certainly wasn’t easy for the Thunder, but this team eventually coasted to a double-digit win.
The Thunders offense was rolling early in the first quarter, but the defense seemed lazy and out of place. The young guys for Memphis were playing for a future contract, so they came out and gave it their all. Fortunately for Oklahoma City, Paul George took over midway through the quarter. George led the way on defense which transitioned into easy points on offense. The Thunder shot 65% for the quarter and held a ten point lead at the end of the first.
The second unit has been playing great lately, and tonight was no different. Jerami Grant was a game changer in the second quarter, and Raymond Felton was right there with him leading the way. Once the starters checked back in Russell Westbrook was playing the role of the facilitator and found guys wide open looks. Westbrook led the team at halftime in assists and rebounds, but had only 1 point. The lack of scoring from Russ wasn’t an issue because everyone around him was knocking down shots. The Thunder held a twenty point lead heading into halftime.
Russell Westbrook continued to rebound and find open looks for teammates at the start of the third quarter. About halfway through the quarter Russell Westbrook got his 16th rebound which made him the only player in NBA history to average a triple-double two years in a row. All in the mix of this was Paul George going 7/7 from beyond the arc. The team was playing some of the best basketball they’ve played all season. However, the Thunder started celebrating history a little too much and allowed the Grizzlies back into the game after leading by nearly 30 points at one part of the quarter.
Oklahoma City came out refocused to start the fourth quarter. Jerami Grant once again came in clutch with a three point shot to give the momentum back to the Thunder. In the middle of the quarter Corey Brewer went down with a knee injury. The injury clearly changed the demeanor of this team. However, the Thunder was able to push through it to pull out the 137-123 win.
The Thunder will be back in action again this weekend for the first round of the playoffs. The exact date is still to be determined, but it’s likely to be a Saturday or Sunday game. Depending on the results of the game between Portland and Utah, the Thunder will either be the 4th or the 6th seed. Regardless of the seeding, the Thunder will face the Jazz in the first round.
The Thunder had great success against Utah in the regular season. Oklahoma City won the season series 3-1. As more information is released we will keep you up to date. Stick with us as we bring you all kinds of post season coverage.
Article written by Craig Hofeld. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.