You’d almost think that a 71-49 lead at halftime might be some semblance of safe. And you’d be wrong. The Grizzlies kept going and going — I swear, Rudy Gay has some Energizer Bunny DNA somewhere — and eventually Memphis pulled to within six before the Thunder put them away, 114-105.
The statistic everyone is going to ask about is “Did Kevin Durant get enough to win the scoring title with 30-plus?” He did, with a 31. But this is the one that mattered for this game: Eric Maynor, backup point guard, posted a double-double, with 15 points and 10 assists. (Maynor played more minutes than starter Russell Westbrook, yet.) In fact, the Thunder bench chucked in 46 points, while the Griz reserves managed only 20. This matters because the Lakers — remember the Lakers? — are struggling with a dearth of bench production, something very un-Laker-like.
As for Memphis, I have to figure that any organization that can turn one-time malcontent Zach Randolph (21 points/11 rebounds tonight) into a stirringly good team player has a bright future indeed.
In the meantime, allow 50-32 to sink in for a moment.
And there’s this, from the summer of 2008:
Q. How many seasons before the NBA team makes the playoffs?
Okay, so I was off by one.