December 27, 2019 / 3:48 AM / 22 days ago

Jackson, Valanciunas power Grizzlies past Thunder

EditorsNote: Added stat detail at end of 6th graf; Other minor tweaks

Dec 26, 2019; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Dillon Brooks (24) arriving before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Frontcourt mates Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jonas Valanciunas combined for 41 points, the Memphis bench added 46 and a strong second half powered the visiting Grizzlies to a 110-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday.

Jackson continued his hot scoring touch of late, posting 20 points for his 13th 20-plus-point outing of the season. Valanciunas scored 11 of his team-high 21 points in the fourth quarter, including three straight buckets in a stretch that pushed the Memphis lead from 12 to 20 points.

Tyus Jones led the Memphis bench mob with 15 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from behind the 3-point line. Brandon Clarke added 13 points, De’Anthony Melton chipped in nine points, eight rebounds and four assists, and Kyle Anderson dished another seven assists in just 12 minutes.

The energy provided by the Grizzlies reserves bolstered the visitors in the second half to advantages of 37-27 in the third quarter, and 24-23 in the fourth.

Oklahoma City, which came in on a four-game winning streak and a winner of seven of nine, pulled within nine with 2:15 to play but came no closer.

Chris Paul posted game highs of 23 points and 11 assists, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 21 points, and last week’s Western Conference Player of the Week, Dennis Schroder, added 20 points off the bench. Outside of Schroder, however, Oklahoma City reserves combined for just eight points on 3-for-16 shooting. That was the difference.

Coming off a performance in which it allowed 145 points to the San Antonio Spurs, Memphis stepped up its defensive intensity. The Grizzlies held the Thunder to 28.6 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line, and 41.3 percent from the floor in total.

The 97 points allowed was a season-low for the Grizzlies, who had not previously kept an opponent below 102 points. Memphis had a 50-34 advantage in rebounding, paced by Jae Crowder’s 10.

The win snapped a nine-game losing streak in Oklahoma City for the Grizzlies.

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