MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Russell Westbrook fell a rebound short of an historic triple-double, but he scored 45 points, including a late 3-pointer that helped seal the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 103-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night.
Westbrook’s 3-pointer — his eighth in the game — with 14 seconds left and two free throws in the final second gave the Thunder their second win in a row. Oklahoma City solidified its hold on the Western Conference’s sixth seed, holding a 3 1/2-game lead over the Grizzlies.
Westbrook had 10 assists and nine rebounds, leaving him tied with Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record for triple-doubles in a season with 41.
Victor Oladipo scored 15 points, and Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter added 10 apiece.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 23 points, and Zach Randolph had 20 points and nine rebounds.
Tony Allen had 14 points for the Grizzlies and Andrew Harrison finished with 12 points.
Memphis was without starting point guard and leading scorer Mike Conley, who was recovering from a gash over his eye suffered Tuesday night in San Antonio.
The game pretty much became the backdrop for Westbrook’s triple-double watch. Each statistic recorded by the Thunder guard drew a check to see if he was getting close to the record.
Even his five turnovers in the first half was worth noting. He finished the game with seven of the Thunder’s 12 turnovers.
Oklahoma took the lead to 10 in the third quarter, but consecutive 3-pointers for Memphis by Troy Daniels and Randolph to start the fourth, gave Memphis its first lead since the opening quarter.
From there, the teams exchanged leads through the middle stages of the fourth.
The game was tied at 95-all until Doug McDermott connected on a 3-pointer, earning Westbrook his 10th assist, with 1:24 left. Oklahoma City never relinquished the lead as Westbrook recorded the Thunder’s final five points.
Westbrook already had 16 points to clear one of the three categories and was halfway to the assists part with five at halftime. Oladipo had 11 for the Thunder, which carried a 57-50 lead into the break.
Gasol led the Grizzlies with 14 points in the first half.
Memphis tightened its defense at the start of the second half, but the Grizzlies could only make a slight dent in the Thunder lead. And, when Randolph tried to cut through the Thunder’s lead, Westbrook shut down any run.
Westbrook continued inching closer to the record, and his 15 points in the third, helped Oklahoma City carry a 79-74 lead into the fourth.
Thunder: Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan recorded his 100th win as coach of Oklahoma City. . Westbrook saw his streak of seven straight triple-doubles snapped. Wilt Chamberlain’s nine games with a triple-double in 1968 is the most in NBA history.
Grizzlies: Memphis opened a season-closing, four-game home stand with Wednesday’s game. The remaining three are against teams with losing records – the Knicks, Detroit and Dallas. .Gasol connected on his third 3-popinter of the game midway through the third quarter, giving him 100 for the season. … Conley’s absence contributed to Memphis using its 24th starting lineup this season.
Conley was ruled out before the game because of the cut over his right eye suffered late in regulation in an overtime loss to San Antonio on Tuesday. Conley and Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard inadvertently butted heads sending blood oozing from the cut. “We just want the swelling to go down,” Memphis coach David Fizdale said. “It really blew up overnight. He can’t even see out of the eye right now.” The cut is on the opposite side of Conley’s face from the broken facial bones suffered in a playoff series against Portland two years ago.
Thunder: Westbrook’s next attempt at holding the record on his own comes Friday at Phoenix.
Grizzlies: Memphis continues its home stand with a Friday against the New York Knicks.