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Five takeaways from the Thunder's 110-97 loss to the Grizzlies

The Thunder lost 110-97 against the Grizzlies Thursday,  following a similar script to the last time these two teams played each other. 

About a week ago, the Thunder pulled off a comeback but acknowledged that erasing 20-plus deficits wasn't sustainable. Thursday's game proved that point.

Here are five takeaways from the game:

Bazley starts

Thunder power forward Danilo Gallinari (left ankle soreness) will miss at least OKC's next three games, according to Thunder coach Billy Donovan. So, on Thursday, rookie Darius Bazley earned his third start of the year.

 “You definitely feel (more comfortable on defense), especially when you play teams a second time,” Balzey said after shootaround Thursday morning. “You kind of get a feel for that player, what they like to do. Definitely at the beginning of the year, I wouldn’t say it was discomfort, but it all was new for me. And not that it’s not anymore, but as I’m going into the season more, I am getting a lot more comfortable.”

The Thunder played the Grizzlies for the second time in just over a week.

Bazley scored the Thunder’s first points of the game with a 3-pointer. He finished the night with three points and four rebounds.

Mike Muscala and Deonte Burton shared minutes at power forward off the bench.

Beating the buzzer

The whistle blew soon after the shot clock reset to 24 seconds, midway through the second quarter.  The game officials determined that the Thunder had never lost possession, and the missed shot didn’t hit the rim. So, instead of getting a fresh 24 seconds, OKC got one second.

Chris Paul in-bounded the ball as Abdel Nader curled along the top of the arc. Nader caught the pass and turned immediately, draining a 3-pointer.

That shot pulled the Thunder to within four points of the Grizzlies. with about eight minutes left in the second quarter. OKC had trailed Memphis by as many as nine points earlier in the period.  

3-point turnaround

After making just two 3-point shots in the first quarter, out of 11 attempts, the Thunder used the 3 ball to outscore the Grizzlies in the second period.

OKC took fewer 3-pointers in the second quarter, but it made five of those eight shots. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies, who shot 2-of-6 from 3-point range in the first period, made just two more 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Rebound disparity 

“Nobody going in for the rebound,” a Thunder fan complained from the crowd early in the fourth quarter. “Just watching the game.”

While that characterization wasn’t entirely accurate, he had a point. By the end of the third quarter, the Grizzlies were out-rebounding the Thunder 34-21. The absence of Gallianari contributed to the rebound disparity. He’s the Thunder’s second-leading rebounder, averaging 5.7 per game. But center Steven Adams’s six rebounds Thursday was also below his usual production.

The Grizzlies scored 10 second-chance points.

History doesn’t quite repeat itself

When the Thunder and Grizzlies last played, just over a week ago, OKC overcame a 24-point deficit to beat Memphis at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder didn’t dig itself in quite as deep of a hole on Thursday, but it trailed the Grizzlies by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter.

Paul cut the Grizzlies' lead to nine points, as he drained a floater with just over nine points left in the game. But a miraculous comeback wasn't in store this time around.


Related Photos
Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson (23) celebrates a basket during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Oklahoma City won 126-122. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson (23) celebrates a basket during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Oklahoma City won 126-122. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-2881a7ad368dbd904dbd5523084bcefb.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson (23) celebrates a basket during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Oklahoma City won 126-122. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] " title="Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson (23) celebrates a basket during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Oklahoma City won 126-122. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption>Oklahoma City's Terrance Ferguson (23) celebrates a basket during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. Oklahoma City won 126-122. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Maddie Lee

Maddie Lee followed an NBA team from Seattle to Oklahoma City, she just took a 10-year detour in between. Lee joined the Oklahoman in October 2018 as a Thunder beat writer, fresh off a stint in Oxford, Miss., where she covered Ole Miss for the... Read more ›

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