Despite a 28-point performance from Paul George and another triple-double by Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder still needed a last-minute push to gain a win.
The Thunder almost squandered a 22-point, second-half lead before scoring the final six points to escape with a 121-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies today. The win was only Oklahoma City's third in the last nine.
"The first half we were great and generated really good shots," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said.
"I thought we came out in the third quarter with the right mindset, but we struggled to put the ball in the basket. That made us a little stagnant, and we were never able to find that rhythm like we had in the first half."
Westbrook finished with 15 assists and 13 rebounds in his 17th triple-double of the season. Carmelo Anthony added 19 points.
Oklahoma City had a 22-point advantage early in the third, but Memphis outscored the Thunder 31-19 in the quarter to cut it to 92-84.
The Grizzlies eventually cut it to 115-114 on a step-back 3-pointer from Tyreke Evans that banked in with 47 seconds left.
But Anthony answered with a thee-pointer — the Thunder's 17th of the game — with 26 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
The 17 three-pointers is a record for the team since they came to Oklahoma City. The bulk of those came through the first three quarters as the Thunder built their lead.
"I just thought we got hot," said George, who was 6 of 9 from outside the arc. "We moved the ball and we just made the game easy."
Andrew Harrison led the Grizzlies with a career-high 28 points, while Evans finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Jarell Martin had 17 points and eight rebounds as Memphis lost its seventh straight.
Interim coach JB Bickerstaff praised his team for not quitting when they trailed 73-53 at halftime in the Grizzlies' last game before the All-Star break.
"They could've easily laid down, packed it in and got ready for vacation. But you see time and time again, that's not their makeup," Bickerstaff said. "That's not who they are."