-73: A review
Memphis vs. Oklahoma City; December 2, 2021.
Good morning. Let’s basketball.
Así sucedió (This is how it happened), Francisco Goya, mid-1790s
I settled in for the second half of Spurs-Blazers Thursday night at the end of a long day (a terrible idea). I noticed the score of the Grizzlies-Thunder game go by. I thought it said “OKC 79, MEM 152.” Surely that couldn’t be right. I loaded up Twitter on my phone. In between Brian Kelly jokes (what are you doing, hoss?), I saw the number “73” mentioned several times, and several disbelieving tweets motioning toward the game.
I confirmed this was a 73-point loss for OKC, tweeted as such, and received a wonderful suggestion.
So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m watching the all-possessions recap on League Pass and popping in notes below as we go.
START OF GAME: So I’ve gathered based on some reply-guys that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey were out. SGA should cancel out the impact of Ja Morant’s absence. OKC’s been in a bad way of late, Memphis should win, but the Grizzlies aren’t exactly setting the world on fire either.
Q1, 10:36: Darius Bazley threw the ball directly to Dillon Brooks, who was like four feet away from him. We might need to check whether Bazley needs corrective lenses.
Q1 8:08: It’s 10-6 Memphis, and Lu Dort and Tre Mann both look fully capable of keeping OKC in this game. Meanwhile, Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks look like Devin Booker and Chris Paul so far. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS.
Q1 5:53: After Bazley’s third turnover in the first six minutes of the game, Jaren Jackson Jr. hits a spin move and gets the score to 17-8. Memphis is doubling up OKC early. This may be relevant later.
Q1 3:00: Santi Aldama, a 20-year-old Spaniard who was the No. 30 pick in the draft, has two quick buckets for Memphis. The Thunder bench appears completely unable to get decent looks or finish the decent looks created by Dort and Mann. Memphis is having no such problems. 27-13.
Q1 2:40: Grizz analyst Brevin Knight after another Aldama basket: “Santi time!” Yes. Yes, it is. 29-13.
Q2 9:00: After a terribly boring stretch with boring turnovers and lots of bricks, it’s 34-23 Grizz. Game is still being actively contested. OKC is shooting 23%. Knowing the final outcome, I have no idea how Memphis is going to score another 120 points in 35 minutes of action.
Q2 7:40: OK, here we go.
Q2 6:07: Now a 20-point game at 48-28 as the Grizz offense picks up steam. OKC’s offensive raring is 73.7 right now.
Q2 3:15: 12-2 run for Memphis, now it’s a 30-point game and Memphis is doubling up OKC 60-30. Brandon Clarke is dominating the lane. No one in orange but Lu Dort can get a shot off. This is the point where if you see this score scroll across the bottom of the screen you perk up. This is getting a little out of hand.
Q2 1:38: Bold defensive scheme her from OKC, let’s see if it works.
HALFTIME: 72-36 Memphis. A brutal beatdown. OKC is shooting 24% from the floor. Memphis is shooting 62% from the floor. I take great interest in the fact that the Grizzlies are leading by 36 already and if my math is correct that means that the Thunder have a WORSE second half than the first half they just had?!!
Q3 11:27: Brevin Knight comments that one of the toughest things to do when up by 36 points is to really put the other team away. Heh. Heheheheh.
Q3 9:36: 8-2 run for Memphis to start the second half with a JJJ triple from the top, 80-38, we’re reaching HOLY S—T territory, folks. 80-38.
Q3 6:20: Some of it is cut out of the condensed game, but it appears Pete Pranica and Brevin Knight are discussing biggest margins in NBA history. Because it’s all on the table. Sixty-eight is the record, by the way. 1991. Cavs over Heat. Meanwhile, it’s 94-45. Taylor Jenkins, I think it’s time to pull your starters.
Q3 5:49: Clarke three, 97-45, we have a 52-point margin, folks.
Q3 3:36: Paul Watson (he plays for OKC) misses by a foot a possession after Gabriel Deck (he plays for OKC) misses by a foot. This is brutal. 101-51.
END OF Q3: Memphis emptied the bench and OKC got hot. The Thunder hit their last five shots of the quarter to cut the Grizzlies’ lead to … 51. At this point, this is just an embarrassingly bad loss, one that sticks with you for a couple weeks, maybe, and pops up the next time you play this team. But nothing the rest of the basketball world will remember closely by the end of next week.
But there’s still a quarter of basketball to go.
Q4 8:48: The Grizzlies’ reserves continue to play hard. They want some of what OKC’s defense is
selling giving away freely. Jarrett Culver sighting. Jarrett Culver sighting. He has 14 DNP-CDs in 22 games. Deep three here. 127-65. We have a 62-point margin.
Q4 8:27: Jarrett Culver steal and coast-to-coast lay-up. 129-65.
Q4 7:37: We are at the Jon Konchar transition alley-oop to Jarrett Culver stage of the game.
68-point lead. We’re at the “text everyone you know and get them on League Pass, it’s worth the $1.99 if they don’t have a subscription.” We’re at the “this is Lester Holt with an NBC News special report” stage. We’re at the “we need photos of President Biden and Vice President Harris watching this in the situation room” stage.
Q4 6:50: Still Santi time. Easy lay-up. 70-point lead. You could double OKC’s total right now and they’d still be down five. You could double their score and their win probability would still be below 40%.
Q4 5:39: Jarrett Culver, running righty bank shot floater, sure, why not. 72-point lead.
Q4 5:04: Xavier Tillman, finger roll. 74-point lead.
Q4 1:01: The condensed game has called uncle! It skipped ahead from a Konchar bucket on a Paul Watson goaltend (143-67) with 4:22 left to 1:01 remaining with Memphis up 150-75. Are we sure OKC actually scored those eight points or is the NBA just trying to prevent a team from getting doubled up? I expect a 4-month investigation by the league. TELL THE TRUTH, ADAM SILVER!
Whatever, Memphis is still doubling up OKC. 75-point lead, even with that suspicious Thunder scoring spurt.
Q4 4:12: LOL, the missing minutes are back. It was just a bad cut from the video production team. Take more care with this historic document, folks! The OKC points are, regrettably, legit.
Q4 2:15: Grizzlies fans are chanting defense up 148-70. The Grizzlies bench is on their feet. Incredible moment. Goosebumps.
END OF Q4: The Thunder players honestly look like they don’t know where they are or what they just did for two hours. For the first time, I’m starting to feel some sadness or empathy for them. Except, like, you lost 152-79 y’all.
What a ride. I’m sad we missed a chance to have a team double up the score of another team thanks to OKC’s hot shooting in the fourth (6/14 from the floor, big improvement over the rest of the game) and I’m a little bummed we couldn’t get Jarrett Culver a garbage time triple-double. But all in all, what a great experience. Game of the year? Game of the year.
Wait wait wait … we need to know what the poor social media manager for the Thunder did with this. Drumroll, please.
Regroup, indeed. I’m even sadder for the Thunder players now that I know they don’t play again until Monday. That’s a whole weekend of -73 jokes before they can do anything about it! Brutal.
“Sam Presti” should be trending on Twitter for the next 48 hours.
All times Eastern.
Heat at Pacers, 7
Cavaliers at Wizards, 7
Sixers at Hawks, 7:30, ESPN
Wolves at Nets, 7:30
Magic at Rockets, 8
Pelicans at Mavericks, 8:30
Celtics at Jazz, 9
Suns at Warriors, 10, ESPN — ESPN flexed this game in place of the Battle of L.A. and a bunch of Lakers reporters were like ‘real sign of how little folks think of the Lakers without LeBron’ and I’m like ‘DID YOU WATCH SUNS-WARRIORS ON TUESDAY? IT WOULD BE CRIMINAL TO SHOW ANY NBA GAME OVER THAT’
Clippers at Lakers, 10
Nuggets at Knicks, 1
Bulls at Nets, 8
Heat at Bucks, 8
Grizzlies at Mavericks, 8:30
Spurs at Warriors, 8:30
Celtics at Blazers, 10
Clippers at Kings, 10
Jazz at Cavaliers, 3:30
Hornets at Hawks, 6
Wizards at Raptors, 6
Pelicans at Rockets, 7
That’s all we have time for today. Check out the dude Dan Devine’s first-quarter awards. If you’re looking for a long read this weekend and have a New York Times sub, I strongly recommend this Bruce Schoenfeld piece on the Overtime Elite program. This program plus G League Ignite might be what fully collapses the already-crumbling pipeline of elite basketball talent to the NCAA. It all depends on what the NBA and union decide on the age minimum. More on this later.
Be excellent to each other.