Russell Westbrook scored 22 points, including two big shots in the closing stretch to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 99-95 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Thunder, the team’s first since an 0-4 start to begin the season, and kept them tied with Portland for third place in the Western Conference after the Trail Blazers won at Charlotte earlier in the day.
The Grizzlies have lost six of their last eight.
Oklahoma City trailed for the entire second half but crept back into the game over the last eight minutes as Memphis went ice cold from the floor.
The Grizzlies missed 13 consecutive shots after Avery Bradley’s alley-oop finish with 7:35 remaining put Memphis up 11. Jonas Valanciunas then sunk two free throws to extend the Grizzles’ lead to 89-76 a minute later.
After Steven Adams grabbed his final rebound of the night — his 22nd, one shy of his season high — Westbrook hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 93 with 1:04 remaining.
Memphis again could not convert on the other end, missing two shots before Westbrook pulled up near the free-throw line and drained a jumper to put Oklahoma City ahead with 32.9 seconds remaining.
Westbrook had struggled from the field before the final minute, and finished 7 of 20 from the floor and just 4 of 13 from behind the 3-point line.
The Thunder were without All-Star forward Paul George for the third consecutive game because of shoulder soreness. George averaged 35 points, 8.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 2.1 steals in February to earn Western Conference Player of the Month honors.
His value to the Thunder has been apparent in his absence, especially for Westbrook, who is 6 of 27 from behind the 3-point line in his last three games.
Adams finished with 13 points to go along with his huge rebounding total. Dennis Schroder, moved into the starting lineup in George’s absence, added 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists while Abdel Nader scored 15 off the bench.
Bradley scored 27 points with seven assists to lead Memphis, but missed his final four field-goal tries. Valanciunas had 16 points and 13 rebounds.
Westbrook picked up his league-leading 14th technical foul of the season in the first quarter. It was the second consecutive game with a technical for Westbrook, who would face a fine and suspension if he incurred 16 technicals during the season.
—Field Level Media