Ja Morant secures triple-double, Memphis Grizzlies pull away to defeat Thunder

The Memphis Grizzlies wanted this one bad.

After six quick Oklahoma City Thunder points, Jaren Jackson Jr. yelled to his teammates to wake up. Dillon Brooks was guarding Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander like he was part of his uniform. Ja Morant was soaring through the air as usual, and Brooks and coach Taylor Jenkins got on Grizzlies players anytime defensive mistakes were repeated.

The high sense of urgency was needed, and the Grizzlies used it to pull away in the fourth quarter of a 123-102 win over the Thunder on Wednesday at FedExForum.

Memphis led by seven points entering the fourth quarter. Brooks and Jackson helped Memphis build a 20-point lead by the four-minute mark of the fourth.

Morant earned his second triple-double this season with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. It was the sixth of his career in the regular season, passing Marc Gasol's five triple-doubles to become the franchise's all-time leader.

Brooks added 24 points, and Brandon Clarke scored 17 points off the bench.

The Grizzlies (16-9) have won their last four games. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Thunder (11-14).

Here are some takeaways from the game.

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Ziaire Williams makes season debut

A loud ovation rang through FedExForum at the start of the second quarter as Ziaire Williams made his season debut. The second-year forward made his return after dealing with patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Williams didn't take long to get involved. He ran a pick-and-roll with Clarke and found the Grizzlies big man rolling to the rim for an easy two points. Williams didn't have many opportunities last season to make plays on the ball, but the Grizzlies have emphasized this as the next stage of his development.

Morant, Jackson and John Konchar all returned to the starting lineup after missing Monday's win against the Miami Heat.

Dillon Brooks makes it tough for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

On certain nights, Brooks has a different look in his eye when matched up against an opponent. Gilgeous-Alexander came into Wednesday's game having scored 30 or more points in seven straight games. The last time he was held below 30 was against Memphis and Brooks on a night where he shot 6 of 18. Gilgeous-Alexander came out aggressive and attempted 10 free throws in the first quarter. The whistles didn't deter Brooks from playing his aggressive style of defense. The Grizzlies forward guarded Gilgeous-Alexander as soon as he passed the halfcourt line, and sometimes he picked him up earlier than that. Brooks fought through so his Grizzlies teammates didn't have to switch. He wanted the matchup so bad that he let out a scream on a couple of occasions when Gilgeous-Alexander scored.

Alexander finished with 26 points on 4-of-14 shooting. He made 17 of his 19 free-throw attempts to generate most of his scoring.

Ja Morant sets rebounding career high

Morant was cleaning more glass than windshield wiper blades. He had seven rebounds in the game's first five minutes before collecting his eighth board with less than three minutes left in the second quarter. The high level of rebounding allowed Morant to push the pace and create easy transition scoring opportunities for himself and teammates. Morant's 13 rebounds tied a career high.

What's next

The Grizzlies will return to action at home on Friday night against the Detroit Pistons. Memphis defeated the Pistons (7-19) last week in their first meeting this season.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Ja Morant gets triple double, Memphis Grizzlies defeat Thunder