Australian Josh Giddey was a fortunate absentee as the Memphis Grizzlies beat his Oklahoma City Thunder by 73 points, setting a new record for margin of victory in the NBA.
- OKC’s Australian rookie Josh Giddey missed the game through a non-COVID injury
- The Grizzlies led the game by 78 points at one point, but had nine players reach double-digits in points
- Memphis was also without its best player Ja Morant, and had no player play more than 21 minutes on the night
The 152-79 scoreline eclipsed the previous mark, which was Cleveland’s 68-point win over Miami on December 17, 1991.
“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 used 12 players and nine of them reached double figures in scoring, with Jaren Jackson Jr’s 27 points leading the way for the Grizzlies. Memphis was without its best player, injured guard Ja Morant.
It was 72-36 at half-time and the Grizzlies just kept adding to the lead, eventually pulling ahead by as many as 78 points.
The Thunder flirted with being on the wrong end of the record last season, trailing Indiana by 67 points on May 1 before rallying — such as it was — to lose by merely 57 points, 152-95.
This was worse. Historically worse.
The Grizzlies set a franchise record for shooting, making 62.5 per cent of their shots. De’Anthony Melton scored 19 points, Santi Aldama scored 18 and John Konchar scored 17 for the Grizzlies, and none of those three players even started.
“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 Memphis starter played more than 21 minutes. Lu Dort led the Thunder with 15 points, and Oklahoma City shot only 33 per cent.
It was 12-8 after five minutes. From there, there was no stopping Memphis. The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder by 15 points in each of the four quarters.
It was the third straight game the Grizzlies have led from start to finish.
The Thunder lost their eighth straight as they continued to play short-handed with a number of players unavailable, including leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered concussion protocol earlier in the day.
Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points against the Rockets on Wednesday night but suffered a blow to the head late in the game.
Australian point guard Josh Giddey, who averages 10.4 points and 5.5 assists, sat out with a non-COVID-19 illness, and the remaining players couldn’t fill the void in Oklahoma City’s offence.
The Thunder had been competitive in their seven straight losses before Thursday night. Their largest margin of defeat was 13 points.