The Grizzlies have had their soft moments this season, which prompted Basketbawful to dub them the Care Bears. (Then again, you should see some of the things they call the Sacramento Kings — or maybe you shouldn’t.) In the last minute of this brouhaha at the Snowbound Later Arena, the score was tied at 95, and three really bad possessions (two by the Thunder, one by Memphis) later, it was still tied at 95. Several equally ghastly exchanges followed in overtime, but the Griz were slightly less ghastly, and Mike Conley iced the deal with three of four free throws in the waning moments, making their way out of town with a 105-101 victory over the Thunder.
And Memphis did this without Rudy Gay (sprained toe) or O. J. Mayo (suspended). Moreover, they did this without controlling the boards — the Griz were outrebounded 58-36 — and without a whole lot of help from their bench. Still, all five Memphis starters came up with double figures, with Zack Randolph posting a serious 31 points and 14 rebounds, and Tony Allen recording 27 points and five steals. And the Telling Statistic: the Griz turned the ball over only nine times.
Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook dropped the rock eight times by himself; the Thunder gave up twenty-three turnovers. Westbrook had a decent night otherwise, with 21 points and 11 dimes, and Kevin Durant poured in 31 points while pulling down ten boards. And how did Jeff Green do? Uncle Jeff had an off night, with seven points and seven rebounds. The bench did what they could: Serge Ibaka snagged 14 boards, James Harden dropped in 13 points, and Nick Collison was physical enough to foul out. But still: 23 turnovers? That’s enough to give the Griz almost a whole ‘nother Z-Bo.
There follows a weekend trip to the Left Coast, with stops at Excremento (whoops!) and Golden State; then it’s back home Tuesday against the Kings.