On Dec. 17, 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers decimated the Miami Heat by a 68-point margin to set a new NBA record for the largest margin of victory. The record stood for nearly three decades but, just 15 days shy of 30 years later, a new baseline has been established. The Memphis Grizzlies walloped the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday evening, setting a new standard with what became a 152-79 victory for the home team at FedEx Forum.
As one may imagine, the Grizzlies dominated the proceedings virtually from the opening tip. Memphis won each quarter by 15 points or more, holding the Thunder to just 5-of-23 shooting in the opening period to take a 31-16 lead. The margin then grew with a 41-20 thrashing in the second quarter, as the Grizzlies shot 77 percent and converted 5-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc. At the halftime break, Memphis was doubling Oklahoma City on the scoreboard at 72-36, and the onslaught didn’t stop.
The third quarter represented Oklahoma City’s best offensive stretch of the game, as the Thunder scored 26 points and made four three-pointers. Unfortunately for Oklahoma City, Memphis was also pouring it on offensively, with the Grizzlies converting seven triples, shooting 61 percent and scoring 41 points. Then, the Grizzlies put together what was actually their most dominant stretch of the entire evening, using a 32-5 run at the start of the fourth quarter to take a 78-point (!) lead with only three minutes remaining in the game.
When the score was 145-67, it seemed as if the Grizzlies might actually score more than double the amount of points that the Thunder produced. Oklahoma City scored 12 points in the final 2:52, the team’s best offensive stretch of the evening, and the visitors avoided that fate, but the final margin of 73 points certainly tells the story of just how lopsided this was for four quarters.
Statistically, the game was also remarkable in many ways. Nine players scored in double figures for Memphis, led by Jaren Jackson with 27 points, and the Grizzlies did it all without Ja Morant. As a team, the Grizzlies shot 62.5 percent from the floor and 19-of-36 (52.8 percent) from three-point range, racking up a whopping 41 assists and also securing 14 offensive rebounds on only 36 missed shots. On the other end, Oklahoma City shot just 32.9 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent from long distance, committing 20 turnovers and generally flailing.
For good measure, there were also wild individual numbers in the +/- column. Thunder guard Luguentz Dort posted a -53 in 25 minutes, and no member of OKC’s roster (which was without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey for the night) finished better than -18 in the game. Grizzlies rookie Santi Aldama finished +52 in less than 29 minutes of action, and five players on the Memphis roster finished at +39 or better in the game.
All told, it is difficult to fully describe the annihilation that took place here, and in truth, the 73-point margin could’ve been worse if not for the late push by OKC. After the final buzzer, the Thunder at least attempted to act as if it was business as usual, releasing a “final score” tweet for the ages.
regroup and back at it Monday pic.twitter.com/xNhPToSr83
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) December 3, 2021
This record may not stand for nearly 30 years as the previous mark did, but anyone who tuned in to Grizzlies-Thunder on Thursday was presented with a result to remember for a long time.