Thunder Grit-and-Grind Memphis in Statement Win

In a rare January home game the OKC Thunder jumped on the Grizzlies and led the entire game to notch their 24th victory of the season. The win moves them ahead of the Grizzlies into sixth place.

The Oklahoma City Thunder were able to outlast several comeback attempts from the Memphis Grizzlies, winning 103-98 on Wednesday at the Peake. This one was a true grit-and-grind affair, a throwback to the physical style of play of yesteryear in the NBA.

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Russell Westbrook notched his 18th triple-double of the season, and the first of his career in the regular season against the Memphis Grizzlies. Russ had a rough night shooting 6-19 from the floor and an unsightly 0-7 from deep. He finished the night with 24 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists, and two huge steals late in the game, which went a long way in helping the OKC Thunder ice the game, and an amazing block on Mike Conley early in the game.

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Westbrook’s supporting cast steps up:

Thankfully, the rest of the team stepped up in a big way when it came to scoring the basketball.

Enes Kanter led the rest of the Thunder with 19 points in 30 minutes off the bench, including this huge And-1 late.

Victor Oladipo added 16 on 50% from the field, and Steven Adams chipped in 12 points and 8 rebounds, but more on those two in a little bit. The Thunder played phenomenal team defense, holding the Grizzlies to only 41% from the field and 29% from three.

OKC took an 11 point lead into halftime, but the Grizzlies started to chip away almost immediately in the second half. This was due in large part to Dave Fizdale switching Tony Allen onto Russell Westbrook defensively. This allowed Mike Conley to focus more on running the offense without having to worry about chasing Russ around on defense.

Grizz tired to grind back, but OKC Thunder defense was grittier:

The Grizzlies would get as close as two, but then an impromptu run, mostly by the Thunder bench, put the Thunder up 12 going into the final frame. Although the box score won’t reflect it, Cameron Payne did a great job facilitating the ball late in the game. Unfortunately, most of the shots didn’t fall, but I digress. The bench finished the evening with 43 points.

Zach Randolph (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Mike Conley (22 points, 6 assists) fueled yet another comeback attempt by the Grizzlies in the fourth. But Marc Gasol (9 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) was all but invisible for the Grizzlies most of the evening.

Game punctuated by big OKC Thunder plays:

Memphis was down four when the play of the game happened.

Victor 3#ThunderUp!@USCellular highlight. pic.twitter.com/iD9rLBTFo1

That sequence, even with all of the heroics that Russell has displayed so far this year, just might be the sequence of the year for the Thunder.

What that video doesn’t show is Conley seemingly had an easy transition lay-up off another Thunder turnover (they had 16).

Adams hustled back in transition, denying Conley a path to the hoop, forcing him to back out and reset.

After the Dipo Dagger, Jerami Grant attacked the rim with Thunderous Intentions:

Must Read: Why Westbrook deserves to start All-Star Game, a statistical comparison of backcourt players

The Thunder have won three straight after losing three in a row to start the New Year. OKC is on the road for the next 6 games, starting with a battle with the TimberPups in Minnesota on Friday night.

Must Read: Five Shooters the Thunder Should Target

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