The Memphis Grizzlies broke the NBA record for margin of victory on Thursday night, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 152-79.
The 73-point margin easily topped the previous mark, Cleveland’s 68-point win over Miami. The Cavaliers topped the Heat 148-80 on Dec. 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 halftime, and the Grizzlies just kept adding to the lead, eventually pulling ahead by as many as 78 points.
“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.”
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% 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.
No Memphis starter played more than 21 minutes. Lu Dort led the Thunder with 15 points, and Oklahoma City shot only 33%.
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.
The Thunder lost their eighth straight as they continued to play short-handed with several players unavailable, including leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who entered concussion protocol earlier Thursday. Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points against the Rockets on Wednesday night but suffered a blow to the head late in the game.
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 offense.
The Thunder had been competitive in their seven straight losses before Thursday night. Their largest margin of defeat was 13 points.
Oklahoma City’s 36 points in the first half was its season-low for a half.
The 152 points were the most by Memphis in a game. Its previous mark was 144 against Golden State on Jan. 3, 2007.