Westbrook ejected in Thunder loss to Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Marc Gasol scored 25 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Russell Westbrook’s ejection, dominating the Oklahoma City Thunder for a 114-80 victory Thursday night.
Westbrook, the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.7 points per game, scored 21 before he was tossed midway through the third quarter when he was whistled for two quick technicals. At that point, Memphis already held a double-digit lead that reached 37 points in the fourth quarter.
Zach Randolph added 21 points for the Grizzlies. He and Gasol both grabbed eight rebounds.
Memphis reserve Troy Daniels shot 6 of 8 from 3-point range in the fourth quarter and scored all 22 of his points in the final period.
Enes Kanter had 19 for the Thunder, and Alex Abrines scored 10 as Oklahoma City set a season low for points. Westbrook had five rebounds and no assists.
The loss snapped Oklahoma City’s four-game winning streak, while Memphis ended a two-game skid.
The Thunder never got the Memphis lead under double digits in the second half and by the midway point of the fourth, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan had pulled his starters.
Westbrook took his exit earlier in the half.
Memphis already had built the lead to 61-45 and weathered a small Thunder rally to open the second half when Westbrook left after the two technical fouls.
Memphis was never threatened after that.
The Grizzlies used a burst of momentum from Randolph, who scored nine quick points when he entered the game in the first half. Gasol had 14 points in the half.
Westbrook had 19 points in the first two quarters but committed the bulk of the Thunder’s 11 turnovers in the half.
The miscues and Memphis shooting 49 percent compared to 32 percent for Oklahoma City led to the Grizzlies increasing their lead to as many as 17 before carrying a 55-39 lead into the break.
Thunder: Westbrook’s ejection came with 6:41 left in the third quarter when he argued with official Brian Forte. . G Victor Oladipo missed his ninth game with a right wrist injury. Anthony Morrow, the most common replacement for Oladipo, started his seventh game of the season. . The Thunder had six turnovers in the first quarter, all by Westbrook. … Oklahoma City drew a pair of technicals in the first half, including one on Donovan.
Grizzlies: Have 10 wins in December, the first time they’ve accumulated double-digit wins in the month. . Randolph played in his 1,012th career regular-season game. Exactly half of them (506) have come in a Memphis uniform. . Memphis connected on 13 of 22 3-pointers, the 14th time this season it has reached double digits from long range.
BIG TOE, NO-GO
Memphis PG Mike Conley missed his second game with a bum left big toe. Grizzlies coach David Fizdale said before the game that it was caused by a “a broken toenail-type of thing,” adding: “When those 7-footers step on your toes, that’s not pleasant. Unfortunately for us, (the infection) went back into his toe.”
Westbrook’s ejection assured Memphis of maintaining its streak of not allowing a triple-double in 176 games — the longest current streak in the league. The Grizzlies haven’t allowed a triple-double since Dec. 13, 2014, when Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Thunder: Oklahoma City returns home for a New Year’s Eve game against the Clippers, the only Thunder home game in a six-game stretch.
Grizzlies: Start a four-game West Coast road swing on New Year’s Eve at Sacramento.