Player grades: Thunder escape with close 118-112 win over Grizzlies

Swatting away Jaren Jackson Jr.’s last-second 3-point heave, Chet Holmgren officially slammed the door shut of a potential upset against OKC.

The Oklahoma City Thunder scrapped a 118-112 win over the depleted Memphis Grizzlies. OKC finished its three-game season series against Memphis with a sweep. The back-and-forth contest saw 21 lead changes and eight ties. It took until the tail end of the third frame for a double-digit lead to materialize.

Unlike the first two matchups, the Grizzlies showed a fight with an early 9-3 lead two minutes into the contest. The Thunder answered back and finished the first quarter with a close 29-27 lead. Both teams exchanged buckets in the second frame as each scored 27 apiece. OKC entered halftime with a 56-54 advantage.

The Thunder started the second half with seven straight points to build a nine-point lead with 10 minutes left in the frame. The Grizzlies responded and cut it to a one-point deficit just a few minutes later. OKC closed out the third quarter on a 21-8 run to enter the fourth quarter holding a 91-78 advantage.

It felt like the Thunder finally created a serious cushion on the scoreboard after both teams stayed close to each other. The start of the final frame quickly dispelled any hopes of a relaxed win for the Thunder as the Grizzlies rattled off eight straight points to turn it into a five-point game with over 10 minutes left.

After a timeout, OKC responded with a 14-5 run to build an 11-point lead with 5:48 left in the game. The Grizzlies cut it to a five-point deficit with a minute left, which proved to be the closest they were in the final six minutes of the contest.

Despite Memphis’ best efforts to milk out the final seconds and create some intrigue, OKC managed to kill time off the clock and hit on its free throws to close out the resilient road win.

The Thunder shot 52% from the field and went 12-of-35 (34.3%) from 3. They went 16-of-21 from the free-throw line. They also dished out 25 assists on 45 baskets. Six Thunder players scored double-digit points.

The Thunder’s young trio totaled 65 points in the win. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 20 points and seven rebounds; Jalen Williams finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and six assists; Chet Holmgren totaled 22 points and 11 rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Grizzlies shot 46% from the field and went a sizzling 18-of-44 (40.9%) from 3. It was an uncharacteristic hot night from outside for one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league. They had 34 assists on 37 baskets and went a busy 20-of-26 from the free-throw line.

After a two-month absence, Desmond Bane returned from a gruesome ankle sprain and led the way for the Grizzlies with 22 points and went 4-of-9 from 3. Jackson Jr. had 19 points, six rebounds and seven assists. GG Jackson scored 19 points on 5-of-14 shooting.

It was ugly, but the Thunder escaped with the win, which is what ultimately matters at this stage of the season. OKC will now enjoy a rare three-day break before preparing for the stretch run of the year.

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Story originally appeared on Thunder Wire