OKLAHOMA CITY —
Jerryd Bayless paced Memphis with 23 points as he replaced Gay in the starting lineup. Mike Conley chipped in with 17 points. Zach Randolph had a poor shooting performance (4 for 17), but hauled in 19 rebounds in the losing effort.
“I thought we played hard for the most part,” Memphis guard Tony Allen said. “But we just didn’t have an answer for them. We showed signs of weathering the storm. But they rained on us. You have to take your hat off to them. They played good. Next time we meet, they will be at our house.”
The shooting woes that plagued the Thunder in their loss to L.A. on Sunday evaporated in the first quarter against Memphis. As a team, they shot 80 percent from the field, despite racking up eight turnovers.
“I think our fans did a good job of staying with us,” Westbrook said. “Everybody came ready to play.”
With Randolph and Marc Gasol getting off to slow starts, Memphis stayed within striking distance behind Bayless. He erupted for 12 points in the opening quarter as the Grizz trailed by only 10.
However, the Thunder got its transition game rolling in the second period and pushed their lead to 24. Westbrook, who had been in a horrible shooting slump, was 7 for 10 in the first half as Oklahoma City led 58-34.
In the third, it began to fall apart for Oklahoma City. After Westbrook and Sefolosha got into a heated argument on the floor, Brooks benched Westbrook with the Thunder up by 21 points.
“Well, there was obviously a discussion on the court,” Brooks said. “On one of the offensive plays, we had some trouble with our spacing. Thabo cut over when he probably should have spotted up. There was a time-out and I decided to take Russell out because he needed to calm down. Russell went into the back. It was nothing, he just had to regroup.”
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