Both Chris Paul and Billy Donovan warned us that the Thunder could not keep digging themselves holes and expect to get out of them. On Thursday, that is exactly how things played out. The Thunder got off to an early five-point lead and pushed it as high as six before Brandon Clarke put the Grizzles up 20-18 with 1:41 to go in the first quarter. That was the only lead change of the night as Memphis ended the Thunder win streak at four games with a 110-97 win.
Oklahoma City Would trail by as much as 20, and even though they would cut the lead to two before the half, they never had an answer for Grizzlies in any phase of this game. When asked about the lack of energy, the Thunder displayed Chris Paul refused to use the three days off as an excuse Paul pointed out the that Thunder had shootaround on Thursday morning and said: "we've shot a lot of basketballs in our life, so three days don't do much of nothing."
Billy Donovan chalks the loss up to a miserable shooting night. Donovan feels that the Thunder was getting looks, especially from three, but shots weren't falling. Eight days ago, the Thunder overcame a 24 point deficit to these same Grizzlies. Jonas Valancuinuas, who had 21 points on 9 of 11 shooting, says the difference was "we played hard on both ends. That's the goal, that's what we want to do every night." Valacuinuas 21 was part of the Grizzlies 66 in the paint.
The Thunder will be without forward Danilo Gallinari and for the next two games due to a sore ankle. Gallinari is averaging 18 points per game more than his scoring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander says it's the fact that he is a mismatch on every single play that they miss the most.
As we write, the Thunder is boarding a plane to Charlotte to face the Hornets on Friday. Not a lot of time to dwell on this loss or any loss for that matter the next month will see either back to backs or playing every other night. Steven Adams shared a little life advice when asked how the Thunder will put this one behind them "like an ex-girlfriend.".."Gotta get past it. Don't ya."
Thunder/Hornets Friday night at six on Fox Sports Oklahoma.