Memphis Grizzlies beat Oklahoma City Thunder by 73 points, setting an NBA record

Memphis Grizzlies beat Oklahoma City Thunder by 73 points, setting an NBA record

When John Konchar got a steal and headed to the hoop, the game was long settled and the Memphis players were reduced to cheerleaders on the sideline.

With 3:02 left in the game, his right-handed slam put the Grizzlies up 145-67 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, setting a new team record for points in a game. Memphis’ greatest lead on Thursday night was 78 points, but by the time it was over, the Grizzlies were still up 73 points.

Their 152-79 victory over the Thunder set a new NBA record for the greatest victory margin.

“At that moment, I didn’t know it was a franchise record,” Konchar said. “I just kind of saw the lane, and I dunked it. But it’s awesome.”

The 73-point margin comfortably surpassed Cleveland’s previous high of 68 points over Miami. On December 17, 1991, the Cavaliers defeated the Heat 148-80.

“Tonight is not necessarily who we are,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “I think we’ve definitely shown that from a competitive standpoint. This isn’t indicative of who our team is.”

Memphis utilised 12 players and nine of them scored in double figures, with Jarvis Jackson Jr. leading the way with 27 points. Memphis was without its greatest player, Ja Morant, who was out with an injury.

At halftime, the Grizzlies led 72-36, and they continued to extend their lead, eventually leading by as many as 78 points, the greatest lead in any game since at least 1996-97.

“I think there was some slippage defensively and I think before you know it, teams are in a rhythm and the game is out of hand,” Oklahoma City’s Mike Muscala said. “We didn’t fight, obviously. You’d rather go out fighting. You would rather go out putting your best foot forward and playing together.”

Last season, the Thunder came close to being on the losing end of the record, trailing Indiana by 67 points on May 1 before rallying to lose by just 57 points, 152-95.

This was much, much worse. Worse in the past.

The Grizzlies set a team record for field goal percentage, making 62.5 percent of their attempts. The Grizzlies got 19 points from De’Anthony Melton, 18 points from Santi Aldama, and 17 points from John Konchar, who didn’t even start.

“Man, it feels great. It feels great to be in the history books, especially in front of our home crowd,” Melton said. “And we did it one through 15. Everybody contributed, everybody played hard and we all got to get in the game. So, it’s always a blessing.

“We knew with [Morant] going down what we had to do. We had to step up.”

No starter for Memphis played more than 21 minutes. The Grizzlies’ bench scored 93 points, which was 14 points more than Oklahoma City’s whole team.

Lu Dort led the Thunder with 15 points, but the Thunder only shot 33% from the field.

After five minutes, the score was 12-8. Memphis was unstoppable from then on. In each of the four quarters, the Grizzlies outscored the Thunder by 15 points.

“Franchise records are obviously great. Obviously proud of our guys that they don’t think about that,” Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’re just motivated by what are our standards every single night. Tonight was on pretty full display both offensively and defensively.”

It was the Grizzlies’ third straight game in which they led from start to finish.

“‘Obviously, it was a combination of things,” Daigneault remarked. “They played with great force and pace. They made some shots. We didn’t shoot it well early and just really couldn’t get a grip on the game. Any part of the game.”

The Thunder have now lost eight straight games as a result of a number of players being unavailable, including leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who was placed in concussion protocol earlier Thursday.

On Wednesday night, Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points against the Rockets, but he was hit in the head late in the game. Josh Giddey, who averages 10.4 points and 5.5 assists per game, was unable to fill the vacuum in Oklahoma City’s offence due to a non-COVID-19 sickness, and the remaining players were unable to fill the void.

Prior to Thursday night, the Thunder had been competitive in their previous seven losses. Their highest loss margin was 13 points.

“When you compete, you have exposure to the highs and lows of competition,” Daigneault added. “And competition comes with great joy, and it also comes with grief and frustration and anger.” And when you enter the ring, you’re exposing yourself to all of those things.

“It’s why the joy feels so good, because when you get punched and you taste your own blood, it doesn’t feel right.”

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