Paul George scored 40 points, Russell Westbrook clinched a triple-double average for the second straight season and the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Memphis Grizzlies, 137-123, on Wednesday night.
Westbrook makes history as Thunder beat Grizzlies
Westbrook entered the night needing 16 rebounds to clinch the triple-double average. He pulled down his 16th rebound with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter and received a standing ovation. He finished with just six points, but had a career-high 20 rebounds and 19 assists.
Steven Adams scored 24 points and Corey Brewer added 17 for the Thunder, who matched a franchise record with 20 made 3-pointers.
The win was critical – with a loss, the Thunder would have been a No 8 seed and forced to play No 1 seed Houston in the first round.
Dillon Brooks scored a career-high 36 points for Memphis.
Westbrook had one of the most unique first halves of his career to help the Thunder take a 20-point lead. He had 12 assists and 11 rebounds, yet only scored one point and took two shots. George scored 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including 5-of-5 3-pointers in the first half to help Oklahoma City score a season-high 77 points in the first half.
Brooks scored 16 points in the third quarter to help the Grizzlies trim their deficit to 105-96 at the end of the third quarter. The Grizzlies scored 39 in the period.
Memphis hung tough in the fourth quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers by Terrance Ferguson and George pushed Oklahoma City’s lead to 133-116.
Grizzlies: Marc Gasol (rest), Tyreke Evans (personal reasons), JaMychal Green (knee soreness), Wayne Selden Jr (right knee soreness), Andrew Harrison (right wrist/left shoulder) and Jarell Martin (left ankle) all sat out.
Thunder: Westbrook brought F Nick Collison out to midcourt with him before the game. Westbrook said he wasn’t sure if it would be the 37-year-old Collison’s last regular-season game, but he wanted the crowd to acknowledge Collison’s contribution to the franchise … G Alex Abrines (concussion protocol) did not play … Westbrook had seven assists in the first quarter … Brewer was fouled on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and left the game for good with a knee sprain.