Thunder Wins Easy in Griffin's Big Homecoming
Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:13 pm
By: News On 6
Originally Published: Feb 22, 2011 9:44 PM CDTGerald Goodridge
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma City Thunder took advantage of Blake Griffin’s early foul trouble to build a big lead late in the first half and cruised to a 111-88 win Tuesday.
Griffin, in his first NBA game in Oklahoma City, dealt with foul trouble late in the first half – picking up three fouls with four minutes left in the second quarter. The Thunder capitalized, closing the second half on a 15-2 run from that point – including a last-second three-pointer by Daequan Cook – to take a 62-46 lead.
The lead would remain nearly intact for the third quarter, the Thunder taking a 78-67 advantage into the game’s final 12 minutes. However, Oklahoma City moved to expand the lead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.
Jeff Green and James Harden started the fourth quarter off with back-to-back from behind the arc – both assisted by Eric Maynor – to extend the advantage to 17 points. A pair of layups from Harden two minutes later gave the Thunder an 88-67 lead, the first 20-point lead of the contest.
Halfway through the quarter, the Thunder went on a quick 8-2 run – five coming from Green – extended the lead 101-76, the largest lead of the contest.
Griffin – who was introduced while wearing a shirt honoring friend Wilson Holloway – led all scorers with 28 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, putting on a show for his hometown crowd. In his 23 minutes coming off of the bench, Bledsoe scored 13 points and grabbed four rebounds, in spite of turning the ball over five times in the loss.
Green led the charge for the Thunder with 22 points and four rebounds, with Kevin Durant adding 21 point and eight boards. Harden contributed in a big way for Oklahoma City, scoring 19 points in relief – 12 coming from behind the arc.
The Thunder will now begin a tough three-game stretch, taking on three of the league’s top 10 teams. Oklahoma City starts the run Wednesday at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the road against San Antonio and then travel to Orlando Friday for an 8 p.m. tip against the Magic.