Posted January 31, 2013 on
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Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook added 21 points and nine assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat Memphis 106-89 Thursday night in the Grizzlies' first game since trading away leading-scorer Rudy Gay.
Memphis struggled mightily in the first half and trailed by 26 in the third quarter before a mini-implosion by the Thunder that featured Westbrook getting benched after a dust-up with his teammates.
It still didn't provide a big enough opening for the Grizzlies, who were playing short-handed while waiting for trade acquisitions Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye and Ed Davis to arrive and pass physicals.
Jerryd Bayless led Memphis with 23 points. Zach Randolph missed his first 10 shots and wound up with nine points and 19 rebounds.
The Grizzlies were already short on numbers after dealing away reserves Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby for Jon Leuer about a week earlier and with Quincy Pondexter out with a sprained ligament in his left knee.
That left just nine healthy players for Memphis, and Leuer didn't get into the game until it was out of hand in the final 5 minutes.
Just when Oklahoma City seemed to be firmly in control, Westbrook started sniping with his teammates after a possession when he posted up along the left side of the lane and eventually got called for a turnover when Bayless stuck with him on defense for 5 seconds. Westbrook then spiked the ball twice while gesturing toward Thabo Sefolosha and Durant that they needed to get open better.
He then hollered toward coach Scott Brooks on the bench.
Memphis followed his outburst with 10 straight points to make it a game again - with Westbrook getting an early hook during the stretch and heading down the tunnel to the locker room.
Brooks finally put him back in the game to start the fourth quarter, after Memphis had pulled to 77-67 in the final minute of the third quarter. Westbrook hit a pull-up jumper and set up Kevin Martin for a 3-pointer in transition on consecutive possessions to bump the lead back up to 86-69 with 9:32 remaining.
That all but ended the Grizzlies' comeback bid.
Memphis had been one of only three visiting teams to win at the Chesapeake Energy Arena this season, but that was before the two trades aimed at avoiding the luxury tax.
From the start, the depleted Grizzlies were no match for the Thunder at full strength.
Returning home for the first time after a six-game road trip, Oklahoma City connected on its first nine shots to move ahead and then tacked onto the lead after the streak stopped. Martin's 3-pointer from the left wing pushed the advantage into double digits for the first time at 27-16 with 2:41 left in the first quarter.
Nick Collison had a two-handed slam and Durant converted a three-point play after being fouled on a right-handed jam during a string of nine straight Oklahoma City points early in the second quarter, and the lead ballooned to 24 by halftime. Memphis shot just 26 percent while matching its season-low with 34 first-half points while the Thunder made 61 percent and scored 58 points against what has been the league's stingiest defense.
NOTES: Gay was the Grizzlies' franchise leader in games played (479), minutes (17,338) and steals. He was second in points (8,562). ... Durant picked up his eighth technical foul of the season with 7:54 in the third quarter, after getting the ball stripped as he made a move to the basket. ... Oklahoma City's 9-for-9 start from the field was its best since relocating from Seattle in 2008 and the best in the league this season.
BEST OF MAXIM
Rudy Gay talked about why this win against the Clippers was extra sweet, getting three ovations from the crowd in his debut in Toronto, his respect for DeMar DeRozan and why this team has the potential to improve on the defensive end.
Click here to download the MP3 of this media scrum.
Former UConn Huskies small forward Rudy Gay has a new home in the NBA as his former team, the Memphis Grizzlies, has traded him to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal that also included the Detroit Pistons.
Here's how that trade breaks down:
Raptors get - Rudy Gay (Grizzlies), Hammed Haddadi (Grizzlies)
Grizzlies get - Ed Davis (Raptors), Tayshaun Prince (Pistons...
According to Marc Stein on ESPN, the Memphis Grizzlies have agreed to trade Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a trade that also involves the Detroit Pistons.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors have agreed in principle on a trade that will send leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Raptors, according to sources with knowledge of the deal.
Sources told ESPN.com the Grizzlies will...
Rudy Gay is the centerpiece of a three-team trade involving the Raptors, Grizzlies and Pistons.
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In his rise to stardom in the NBA, Westbrook has shown off an All-Star temper to go with his unique blend of athleticism and determination.
His latest outburst came in anything but a pressure-packed situation Thursday night. He snapped at teammates and stormed off toward the locker room after a...
On Friday morning, Rudy Gay was still in Memphis. Physically, I mean. Though he’s been a Toronto Raptor since Wednesday, Gay didn’t actually arrive in Canada until this afternoon, when he passed his physical examination and a crash course in Dwayne Casey’s playbook. Hours later, he was showered with cheers from his new faithful when he got up off the bench to replace Landry...
The first domino before the February 21 trade deadline fell Wednesday when the Grizzlies traded Rudy Gay to the Raptors for Jose Calderon and Ed Davis and then sent Calderon to the Pistons for Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
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Wow, was last night a slow night in sports. Two NBA games, both decided by double digits, and a bunch of hockey. The most interesting thing we saw involved Thunder guard Russell Westbrook acting like an immature child after being called for a 5-second violation.
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Every morning, we will give you five things from the night before in the NBA to start your day.
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I’ve heard of players being upset during a game, but this is a first. Russell Westbrook was very upset on the bunch during Thursdays Thunder-Grizzlies game, so much so as to throw a tantrum on the bench, and then storm off: TNT’s live broadcast reported that Westbrook was angry towards Kevin Durant, Royce Young of [...]
The Memphis Grizzlies' first game without Rudy Gay was hardly one to remember, but they might have a better chance to win in their next one.
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TORONTO -- Rudy Gay scored 20 points after coming off the bench in his first game for the Toronto Raptors to lead them to a 98-73 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers before a crowd of 19,800 at Air Canada Centre. Forward Amir Johnson scored 19 points and grabbed a season-best 16 rebounds as the Raptors ended a three-game losing streak. Johnson's rebounds equaled a career...