OKLAHOMA CITY — Style points don’t matter in the NBA playoffs. It’s all about getting wins and moving on.
So, despite watching a huge lead dwindle down to a single basket, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks is pleased his team was able to hold on and beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-86 Saturday at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The victory gives the Thunder a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven first round series.
“Winning is all that matters,” Brooks said. “The first team to four. We are up 1-0. We will learn from it then turn the page and focus on game two.”
Memphis will also quickly turn the page as they know they let the game get away from them in the first half. But with 8:44 left in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City’s 25-point lead had been erased. Memphis was down by just two and had momentum squarely on its side after Mike Miller drained a 3-pointer.
But, after using up a vast amount of energy to get back into the contest, the Grizzlies didn’t have enough left in the tank to climb over the hill and take the lead.
Right before Miller’s 3-pointer, the tide had actually begun to shift when Thunder Caron Butler drove from the wing and threw down a dunk that had the entire Oklahoma City bench on its feet.
“Caron’s Dunks probably surprised 18, 203 fans, the players and coaching staff,” Brooks said. “It gave us a spark. At that point we were bending a little bit but we didn’t break.”
Behind the offensive wizardry of Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City outscored Memphis 26-13 down the stretch to close the night out.
Zach Randolph paced the Grizzlies with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Marc Gasol added 16 points on 7-for-19 shooting. Guard Mike Conley scored 16 points to go with 11 assists.