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Thunder look cool (except for Westbrook who got hot) in easy win over Grizzlies

Feb 1, 2013, 12:02 AM EDT

Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless tries to defend against against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City. Reuters

It was a perfect storm of bad for Memphis — they trade their leading scorer Rudy Gay, who is out shopping for a much more extensive winter wardrobe, but his replacements (Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye) have yet to arrive. Then you are on the road against a rested Oklahoma City team who has used its days off to work out some kinks.

The result is the Thunder opening the game 9-for-9 shooting getting a 10-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looking back as Oklahoma City cruises to a 106-89 over Memphis . This game wasn’t really that interesting to watch and the Thunder came off looking cool.

Well, except for Russell Westbrook, who got a little bit hot in the third quarter.

Westbrook got called for a five-second violation while trying to back-down the smaller Jerryd Bayless. Thabo Sefalosha had cut through the lane during the time and Westbrook had words with him afterwards. We should note, the Thunder were up 15 at the time.

Westbrook went to the bench where Mo Cheeks tried to calm him, then Westbrook stormed into the tunnel. He eventually returned to the bench with a towel over his head. Coach Scott Brooks kept him on the bench the rest of the third quarter.

Of course, after the game Westbrook played it off as nothing.

In the time he sat, Memphis made its one push. Early in the third the Thunder had their lead up to 25 but Memphis went on 27-14 run. Near end of the third quarter Memphis got the lead down to 10 and it was a 12-point game to start the fourth.

That’s when Westbrook returned. Memphis’ coach Lionel Hollins was shorthanded and needed to get his wing players some rest so he went big to start the fourth — Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Darrell Arthur all on the court at once — and athleticism of Thunder quickly got some transition baskets and stretched lead out to 17. From there the rout was back on.

Kevin Durant had 27 points, Russell Westbrook 21 and Kevin Martin 16 for a Thunder team that shot 55.6 percent on the night.

Memphis’ Randolph had a really rough night — he shot 0-for-9 for the first half and was 4-of-17 total in the game, although he did grab 19 boards. Marc Gasol had a good night with 16 points and 7 rebounds, while Bayless added 23 points. But as a team the Grizzlies shot just 34.7 percent.

We’re going to see how Memphis’ already struggling offense — they were 23rd in the NBA in points scored per possession with Gay — works with its new players. But this was not the night, and if you’re going to have an off night against a rested Thunder team on the road is going to be a rough place for it.

  1. gmen424 - Feb 1, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    I understand that the Grizzlies cap room made this trade some what necessary but they definitely took some steps back. It also seems like not much thought is going into taking any steps forward. At least this year.

    • hannsta - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:41 AM

      Game one man..I think it was a side step, maybe a bit down but no need to knock it yet. Its an interesting trade that we need to give time to really judge.

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:06 AM

      actually, the owner didn’t want to pay for the luxury tax.

  2. eventhorizon04 - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    “Westbrook got called for a five-second violation while trying to back-down the smaller Jerryd Bayless. Thabo Sefalosha had cut through the lane during the time and Westbrook had words with him afterwards. We should note, the Thunder were up 15 at the time.”

    Yeah – Scott Brooks confirmed what happened.

    Sefalosha cut to the basket expecting a pass. However, Westbrook wanted him to stay away because by cutting to the basket, Sefolosha allowed his defender to crowd Westbrook, leading to the 5-second violation.

    It was an overreaction on Westbrook’s part, but it’s something everybody will forget pretty soon.

    • eventhorizon04 - Feb 1, 2013 at 1:20 AM

      As for Memphis – they just looked like they couldn’t score anymore.

      I know they’re not a great offensive team, but every shot was extremely difficult. Memphis required a lot of passing to get decent looks, and they still had to settle for jumpers on most possessions.

      Plenty of credit has to go to the OKC defense, but it was clear Memphis could have used a guy like Gay who could create his own shot. We’ll see how they play from here on out. Tayshaun Prince is a good 3-point shooter (43% this year, 37% for his career) who scores 12 points per game, so the Grizzlies should look better once he gets going as he helps space the floor.

  3. dko83 - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:02 AM

    Wow Russ, relax bro. Beasley has a tension reducer for you.

  4. 24thesho - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:01 AM

    C’mon, mang! Was it really that bad? Is it really that bad? How old are you? Why don’t any of the other OKC players have temper tamtrums when you more than occasionally go through long spurts throwing up bricks? I like your game and team, but………, seriously?

    • fanofevilempire - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:08 AM

      leave the guy alone.
      he doesn’t like the coach, me either.

      • lyndseymarieee - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        Who said Westbrook doesn’t like Scott Brooks? How could you not like Scott Brooks? He took that team from zero’s to title contenders in 4 years.

      • kavika6 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:59 AM

        I think Durant had more to do with that than Brooks.

  5. borderline1988 - Feb 1, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    I don’t think the Westbrook thing is a big deal….that’s just the kind of guy he is, he erupts emotionally at times. He needs to learn to control himself b/c you wouldn’t want that happening in the NBA Finals. And he can’t be a team’s sole leader/emaple…he needs to be that A1 guy (kind of like Rondo).

    On another note, the reffing is ridiculous for OKC at home. Durant basically can get a call anytime he feels like going to the line. There’s a natural tendency for refs to give calls to the stars, so I don’t necessarily blame them, but the NBA should really put pressure on the refs to be fair.

  6. fanofevilempire - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Scott is overrated, wtf did he ever win?
    They will have to fire Scott, he should be a College coach.
    Phil would slide in and win immediately.
    Scott Brooks tries to be cool.
    Westbrook has to get rid of him.

  7. pellypell - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Russel Waaaaaaabrook, simmah down nah. I am embarassed for him.

  8. telergy - Feb 1, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Why is this a big deal? How many snapped bats, water coolers smashed and f-bombs dropped at umps do we see in baseball clubhouses every year? These players never get ridculed for it… so why the hate for a player who clearly cares about winning and playing basketball as much as he does? I dont get …

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