There is no fool's paradise in the Bluff City. Grizz fans have come to the realization that the team is in a slump. They still show up hoping for a win, but are prepared for a loss.
Memphis ended a season-long, six-game home stand just like it started – with a loss. On Wednesday night (Dec. 11), the Oklahoma City Thunder came into FedExForum on the second night of a back-to-back and defeated the Grizzlies 116-110. Many of the reported 16,345 fans in attendance left in the fourth quarter.
"It's not enjoyable what is going on out there, said Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger. "Losing by two or 22, losing at home, we take a great deal of pride in playing at home. It hurts."
Memphis stayed pretty close, trailing by three at the end of the first quarter (22-25). They held on to the three-point lead until Oklahoma City went on a 20-8 run with 5:58 left in the second quarter. The Thunder went into the half with a 15-point lead (57-42). The Grizzlies never regained the lead. OKC never led by fewer than 13 points thereafter.
The Thunder turned the ball over 21 times compared to the Grizzlies' 12, but
Memphis couldn't convert.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 20 points and nine assists followed by Zach Randolph and John Leuer with 17 points each.
"I thought we gave them too many easy baskets," Conley said. "We turned the ball over too much. They are too good of a team offensively to give them the easy plays and I think that's where we lost the game."
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook led all scorers with 27 points and Kevin Durant scored 18. The two were able to sit the entire third period on the Thunder bench to watch the win. Jeremy Lamb came off the bench to score a career-high 18 points.
Memphis was outrebounded by nine (42-33). The Thunder shot a season-high 9-of-18 three-point shots. Oklahoma City has won 12 of its last 13 games, losing to the Portland Trailblazers on Dec. 12th.
Marc Gasol, Quincy Pondexter, Ed Davis and Tony Allen are still out with injuries. Allen was in uniform but did not play.
"Offensively we turned the basketball over and we didn't execute," said Joerger. "Every single possession led to a run out by them. Our bad offense turned into offense for them. They are very talented and can really score the basketball."
The Grizzlies will head the Pelicans in New Orleans on Friday and come home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.