Mann finished with 24 points, career highs of 12 rebounds and 12 assists and an extended postgame dousing from his jubilant teammates.
“I seen it coming," he said. "But like, I didn’t know they was going to keep coming. I feel like ... they poured the most water on me. And they poured Gatorade, too, so it’s crazy. I’ll get them back, though.”
Both teams were locked into their seeds in the Western Conference before the tip — Memphis at No. 2 and Oklahoma City at No. 10 — so key players for both teams sat out. Memphis’ Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks and Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jalen Williams, Josh Giddey and Lu Dort were among those who did not play.
Mann and the other reserves who got extended minutes understood their roles.
“We stepped up when they called us to just give our guys a rest going into the postseason,” he said. “So, you know, we went out there, played hard and had fun playing together.”
Thunder fans were fired up at the Paycom Center with the Thunder preparing for the Play-In game on Wednesday — the first postseason action for the franchise since 2020. Thunder players signed autographs before the game. The seats were mostly full, even though the fans knew ahead of time that the game wouldn’t affect the standings.
The Thunder dominated the second half, shooting 56.5% and outscoring the Grizzlies 68-51.
“Offensively they moved the ball and made all the right plays and allowed the defense to dictate what we got," Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said. “And I thought we got great shots as a result."
Grizzlies: Vince Williams, a second-round draft pick in 2022, had 15 points and eight rebounds in his first career start. ... David Roddy hit a mid-range jumper as time expired in the first half to give Memphis a 49-47 lead. ... Ziaire Williams scored 18 points in the first half.
Thunder: Rookie first-round draft pick Ousmane Dieng had 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in his first career start. ... It was Butler's first start of the season and second career start. ... It was Sarr's first start of the season and his third career start.
Mann dunked with about seven minutes remaining and drew a roar from the crowd. He pulled the ball way back before delivering a forceful right-handed throwdown.
“I haven’t had a dunk in a little minute,” he said. “I didn’t know I could still jump, but it felt good. You know, tonight was just a lot of fun all around.”
Lofton scored 35 of his 42 points in the second half, making 15 of 18 field goals after the break. His previous career high was 11 points.
Thunder: Will visit New Orleans in a Western Conference Play-In game on Wednesday.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP
- Derrick Collins
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