03/25 23:09 CDT Caboclo's career-high 24 points lead Grizzlies past Thunder
Caboclo's career-high 24 points lead Grizzlies past Thunder
By CLAY BAILEY
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) --- Memphis is becoming a tough place to visit for
contenders in the Western Conference playoff race.
The Grizzlies continued to play spoiler for those jockeying for postseason
position, this time beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 115-103 on Monday night.
The win was the fifth at home in March for Memphis, four of them coming against
playoff teams in the West. The other was against Orlando, which is fighting for
the final playoff spot in the East.
"This is a team that's beaten Houston in here, they've beaten Utah in here and
they've beaten Portland in here. And now they've beat us in here," Thunder
coach Billy Donovan said, adding: "They deserve the game. They outperformed us,
outplayed us, out-coached us, out-everything-ed us for 48 minutes."
Bruno Caboclo scored a career-high 24 points, Tyler Dorsey added 21 and Memphis
ended a two-game slide. Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 14 rebounds as
all five Grizzlies starter reached double figures.
"I feel like our motto was --- once we were out of the playoffs --- it was kind
of like, 'Let's mess up other teams' seasons by giving them a loss'" said Delon
Wright, who had 18 points and a career-high 13 assists.
Paul George led the Thunder with 30 points and 12 rebounds, while Dennis
Schroder added 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Russell Westbrook finished with
16 points and seven assists, but was just 6 of 20 from the field and missed
five of his six 3-point attempts.
"They played great, but that's our fault," Schroder said.
Oklahoma City lost for the fifth time in six games and Donovan is looking for
consistency --- consistency he hoped would have continued after the Thunder
defeated Toronto on the road Friday before a couple days off ahead of the game
"I don't think there can be any excuses having two days in between the Toronto
game," Donovan said, while taking blame for not having his team ready. "I think
it started right from the beginning."
Oklahoma City was down 16-2 after Memphis hit its first seven shots. Oklahoma
City would cut the lead to 54-48 at halftime, but Memphis went on another rally
to open the second half, this time 17-7, stretching the advantage to 18 points
midway through the third.
At that point, Westbrook was 2 of 13.
He would start taking over the Thunder offense, getting to the basket and
making his next four shots. That cut into the Memphis lead before the Grizzlies
held an 86-78 advantage heading into the fourth.
But Westbrook couldn't continue the pace, missing all three shots in the
fourth. Memphis pushed the lead to 103-90 after Dorsey connected on a 3-pointer
with 4:42 left. The Thunder never got closer than seven down the stretch as
Memphis sent another playoff contender home disappointed.
"We're not going to let them come in easy and play just for stats," Valanciunas
said. "We're a hard team. We're trying to establish that mentality, and we're
not going to let it get easy."
Thunder: This was the second game of a two-game road trip, the last
multiple-game stint away from home for Oklahoma City this season. ...The loss
ended a nine-game winning streak for Oklahoma City over Memphis. ... C Steven
Adams was limited to two points, making only one of his seven shots. ... George
recorded his 23rd double-double. It was his 30th game with at least 30 points.
Grizzlies: Starting PG Mike Conley (left thigh soreness) and reserve C Joakim
Noah (right knee soreness) sat out. . Had not defeated the Thunder since Dec.
29, 2016. ... Caboclo's previous career high was 16 points on Feb. 7 at
Oklahoma City. .Valanciunas recorded his fourth straight double-double. ...
Memphis won its first game this season with Conley sitting out (now 1-5).
Memphis outrebounded Oklahoma City 57-41. The Thunder entered the game
averaging 48.1 rebounds, second-best in the league, while Memphis is
next-to-last with a 41.3 rebounding average. The 57 rebounds also matched a
season high for the Grizzlies. Memphis had 57 on Feb. 25 against the Lakers.
Caboclo's 11 rebounds tied his career high.
The Thunder entered the game in the sixth playoff spot in the West; they left
tied with the idle San Antonio Spurs for the final seed. Because of the
Thunder's loss and Utah defeating Phoenix 125-92, the Jazz moved into sixth
Thunder: Host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.
Grizzlies: Host the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.
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