Thunder roll past woeful GrizzliesMar 1, 2009 - 4:56 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The bad news is the Memphis Grizzlies' losing streak is seven games. The good news is no one watched their most recent defeat.
Despite missing Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder added to the Grizzlies' misery with a 99-92 victory on Saturday.
Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green stepped up as Durant watched from the bench, combining for 52 points.
The fourth-leading scorer in the NBA sprained his right ankle against Dallas and was on crutches as he came out to watch the game. Thabo Sefolosha added a double-double, chipping in with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
"The thing I loved the most was their effort," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "We did a good job of really competing for each other. We controlled the tempo. We took it to the basket. We got to the free-throw line."
The Grizzlies followed the game's script in the fourth quarter, using a 20-10 run over the opening eight minutes to draw within 87-81. Rudy Gay, who led Memphis with 20 points, had a chance for a breakaway dunk to cut the margin to four. He was stripped by Green, however, and the called for an offensive foul as he tried to set a screen.
Green came down the other end and hit a baseline jump to no reaction from the empty seats.
A pretty alley-oop from Mike Conley to Gay brought Memphis within 92-85 in the final two minutes. Conley was then fouled by Westbrook and went to the line with 1:19 left and knocked down a pair to make it 92-87.
Westbrook then drove the lane, drawing the Grizzlies to him and kicked it back to Nenad Krstic, who drilled the dagger from 22 feet, straight on to basically close the door.
Memphis tried to make it interesting as Conley and Gay sandwiched hoops around a free throw by Westbrook to make it 95-91. O.J. Mayo split a pair of foul shots to make it 95-92 with 17 seconds left.
Westbrook and Green sealed the deal by hitting a pair of free throws each.
"That is the best part - that we finished it out," Green said. "We kept our composure, and at the end, we got the stops that we needed, and that is what counts. We still played our game. We were aggressive. We had guys that made plays for us. Me and Russell can't do it by ourselves ... it was a team effort and we got it done."
Conley says the Grizzlies simply weren't staunch enough on defense.
"We gave them too many easy layups," the guard said. "There was too much penetration on their guards. They were shooting 90 percent at one point just because of their layups. They were making a lot of easy plays. Once they got in their comfort zone, it was tough to come back."
The Thunder broke to a 29-17 lead after one quarter at the near-empty FedEx Coliseum and any mystery was basically eliminated. The announced crowd was 10,074, but there were nowhere near that many people in attendance.
A 12-4 run turned a 15-10 game a 27-14 advantage for the Thunder, who were coming off a rough overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Friday.
The Grizzlies actually clawed their way within 43-39 in the second quarter before Memphis closed with a 13-6 run to open the advantage back to double digits.
The third quarter basically offered a mirror-image of the second as Memphis drew within 64-58
on a layup by Conley that capped a 9-0 run.
However, the Thunder came right back with a 13-3 burst to close the quarter with a 77-61 advantage.
"We just didn't have it," Gay said. "I just didn't feel like we were pushing like we should. It didn't come out as intense. It's just realizing the situation. If we don't pick it up, we are going to lose and the first half really dug a hole for us."
OKLAHOMA CITY 99
MEMPHIS 92 FINAL
Feb 28 10:36 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 77
MEMPHIS 61 END, 3RD QTR
Feb 28 9:51 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 56
MEMPHIS 45 HALFTIME
Feb 28 9:08 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY 29
MEMPHIS 17 END, 1ST QTR
Feb 28 8:38 PM
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