Down by four at the half to Oklahoma City on the road, the Memphis Grizzlies absorbed the Thunder’s early second-half spurt and then rode their defense to victory.
For the Grizzlies (21-20), the 116-107 win was their 10th on the road against seven losses, giving them three consecutive victories.
Trailing by a dozen (61-49 after a slow second-half start, Memphis got it together with a 33-9 run that put them up by 12 (82-70) with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. The run was triggered by a team defense that ran the Thunder (19-25) off the three-point line and forced multiple turnovers.
“In the first half we were not moving the ball,” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We only had 5 assists in the first half. We ended up with 14 assists in the second half. Our defense really fueled us.
“We made a few defensive adjustments to limit how they could get downhill against us. We had a lot of great one-on-one defense.”
From Ja Morant’s point-guard vantage point, the difference between Memphis’ first and second halves was this: “We were able to get out in transition and that got our offense going.”
Dillon Brooks had a monster second half for the Grizzlies. He packed 16 points onto his nine first-half points to lead the team with 25. Grayson Allen finished with 20 points, including two on a highlight dunk that closed the first half and gave him 13 points before the break.
“I got an open lane to the rim and my eyes kind of lit up,” Allen said of his dunk. “I was able to get to that launching pad and get the one, two down and get up. I know I still got that bounce.”
Memphis turned in a complete-team effort and the way they handled their business registered with Jenkins.
“As long as we are playing the right way, that is the only thing everyone cares about,” he said. “When the box score comes out with how many shots or points a player has, no one cares. We didn’t have that in the first half, but we did in the second half.”
NEXT AND NOTES
- The game was No. 100 for Morant as a Grizzly.
- Jonas Valanciunas had his 28th double-double (16 points, 15 rebounds). This was his 28 double-double game.
- De’Anthony Melton had 16 points, including going 4 fr 6 from behind the three-point line.
- Brandon Clarke had a career high with 5 blocked shots, 9 rebounds and 8 points.
- Memphis out rebounded the Thunder 52-46 and had 13 steals.
Led by Moses Brown with 19 points, the Thunder had seven players score in double digits
Next up for Memphis is the Utah Jazz. Memphis will play a pair of games in Utah on Friday and Sunday. The Jazz has the best record in the NBA.