MEMPHIS, Tennessee, USA (AP) – The game had long been decided and the Grizzlies’ starters were mere cheerleaders on the bench when John Konchar stole the ball and faced the basket.
His dunk with the right hand gave Memphis a 145-67 lead over Oklahoma City with 3:02 remaining, and a new franchise points record.
Those 78 units were the Grizzlies’ biggest advantage in Thursday’s game, but when the final buzzer sounded, they were still earning a comfortable 73 units. Their 152-79 win over the Thunder shattered the NBA’s record for the largest margin of victory.
“At the time, I didn’t know it was a franchise record,” Konchar said. “I just saw the hole and made the basket. But it’s incredible.”
The 73-point margin easily surpassed the previous mark of 68 held by the Cleveland Cavaliers since their 148-80 victory over the Miami Heat on December 17, 1991.
“Tonight is not necessarily who we are,” said Thunder coach Mark Daigneault. “I think we have definitely shown it from a competitive point of view. This is not indicative of who on our team.”
Memphis used 12 players and nine of them finished in double digits, led by Jaren Jackson Jr. and his 27 tallies. The Grizzlies didn’t field their best player, the injured Ja Morant.
The game came 72-36 at halftime and the Grizzlies continued to extend the lead.
The Thunder came close to getting on the wrong side of that mark last season, trailing 67 points to Indiana on May 1 before coming back, so to speak, and losing by just 57 points, 152-95.
This was worse. Historically worse.
The Grizzlies set a franchise record by making 62.5% of their shots. De’Anthony Melton scored 19 points, Santi Aldama added 18 and John Konchar added 17 for the Grizzlies, and neither of them came out in the starting five.
No Memphis starters played more than 21 minutes. Lu Dort led the Thunder with 15 points and Oklahoma City made just 33% of their shots.
The score was 12-8 after five minutes. From then on, no one could stop Memphis, who beat the Thunder by 15 points in each of the four periods.