Duke basketball alum takes part in making NBA history

Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball (Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports) /

A Duke basketball legend was a starter in his NBA squad’s epic blowout win.

Former Duke basketball point guard Tyus Jones helped the Memphis Grizzlies (12-10) break an NBA record on Thursday night and fell just shy of collecting what would have been the eighth double-double of his career.

Their 152-79 defeat of the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder (6-16) equates to a 73-point margin of victory, eclipsing the previous all-time mark, a 68-point win in 1991 by the Cleveland Cavaliers over the Miami Heat.

And it’s worth noting that the Grizzlies were without star point guard Ja Morant (knee), whose three consecutive absences have resulted in an uptick in Jones’ playing time as a fill-in starter.

Solid all-around performance from the Duke basketball product

Tyus Jones, who was famously clutch as a one-and-done collegian in guiding the Duke Blue Devils to their fifth national championship in 2015, finished the complete dismantling of the Thunder with only his fourth double-digit scoring total this season. His 10 points came from shooting 4-for-7 from the field, 1-for-2 from downtown, and 1-for-1 from the charity stripe.

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Plus, the 6-foot, 195-pound Minnesota native tallied nine assists, six rebounds, and two steals with a plus-minus of +42 in his 21 minutes of action.

Thus far this season, his third with the Grizzlies, Jones has averaged 6.2 points, 3.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds while appearing in all 22 of the team’s games.

Although only the rebounding average represents a career-high for the 25-year-old, it’s worth noting that Jones’ reliable contributions this go-round are for a group that currently sits No. 5 in the Western Conference standings.

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Last season, Memphis wound up No. 9 in the West but squeaked into the 2021 NBA Playoffs via the Play-In Tournament, marking the franchise’s first postseason appearance since 2017.