George, Westbrook lead Thunder past Grizzlies 137-123
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Russell Westbrook needed rebounds to reach a milestone, so Paul George took care of the points.
Westbrook entered the game 16 rebounds shy of becoming the first player to average a triple-double for a season more than once. He reached that total with just over nine minutes left in the third quarter and received a standing ovation. He finished with just six points, but had a career-high 20 rebounds and 19 assists.
''I'm very, very thankful and blessed, man, to go out and compete,'' Westbrook said. ''Like I've said many, many times, I don't take this game for granted. I don't take going out on the floor and competing for granted.''
George made 13 of 20 shots, including eight of 14 3-pointers.
''I just caught a rhythm early,'' George said. ''It's just sticking with it, staying with the process and just putting work in - a lot of work in. It paid off tonight.''
With a loss, the Thunder would have been a No. 8 seed and forced to play No. 1 seed Houston in the first round. Instead, Oklahoma City will play Utah.
Steven Adams scored 24 points and Corey Brewer added 17 for the Thunder, who matched a franchise record with 20 made 3-pointers.
Dillon Brooks scored a career-high 36 points for Memphis.
Westbrook had one of the most unusual first halves of his career to help the Thunder take a 20-point lead. He had 12 assists and 11 rebounds, yet only scored one point and took two shots. George scored 26 points on 9-of-10 shooting, including 5 of 5 on 3-pointers in the first half to help Oklahoma City score a season-high 77 points in the first half.
Brooks scored 16 points in the third quarter to help the Grizzlies trim their deficit to 105-96 at the end of the third quarter. The Grizzlies scored 39 points in the period.
Memphis hung tough in the fourth quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers by Terrance Ferguson and George pushed Oklahoma City's lead to 133-116.
''Obviously, I thought we had plays where we could have prevented points, but for the most part, they (Memphis) just played really well tonight,'' George said. ''I thought we did a great job of not falling into just being complacent. I thought we played phenomenal tonight. It just so happened that they played well as well. It's like that sometimes. It's just great that we played well enough to win.''
Grizzlies: Marc Gasol (rest), Tyreke Evans (personal reasons), JaMychal Green (knee soreness), Wayne Selden Jr. (right knee soreness), Andrew Harrison (right wrist/left shoulder) and Jarell Martin (left ankle) all sat out.
Thunder: Westbrook brought F Nick Collison out to midcourt with him before the game. Westbrook said he wasn't sure if it would be the 37-year-old Collison's last regular-season game, but he wanted the crowd to acknowledge Collison's contribution to the franchise. ... G Alex Abrines (concussion protocol) did not play. ... Westbrook had seven assists in the first quarter. ... Brewer was fouled on a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter and left the game for good with a knee sprain.
Westbrook matched a season low with two field goals made and set a season low with nine field goal attempts.
Westbrook didn't shoot well, but the other four starters shot a combined 33 for 55 from the field.
Bickerstaff on the team's 22-60 finish: ''When you go through these types of times, everybody who is involved's true character comes out. It's easy when things are roses and sunshine to be a good player, a good teammate, to be a positive coach, whatever it may be. But these times, who are you? Hopefully everybody involved learned from it.''
Grizzlies: Season is over.
Thunder: Will open the playoffs this weekend.
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|36.4||Min. Per Game||36.4|
|25.6||Pts. Per Game||25.6|
|10.1||Ast. Per Game||10.1|
|9.9||Reb. Per Game||9.9|
|50.0||Field Goal %||44.9|
|52.1||Three Point %||44.9|
|87.0||Free Throw %||73.7|
|+ 3||Ben McLemore made 3-pt. jump shot, assist by Kobi Simmons||0:10|
|Field Goals||44-91 (48.4%)||47-85 (55.3%)|
|3-Pointers||13-31 (41.9%)||20-43 (46.5%)|
|Free Throws||22-24 (91.7%)||23-32 (71.9%)|
|W. Selden Jr.||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-||-|