OKC Thunder (23-12, 10-6 road) at Memphis Grizzlies (15-19, 9-6 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 108.8 (9th), Grizzlies – 105.2 (18th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 106.9 (17th), Grizzlies – 104.9 (11th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.3 (9th), Grizzlies – 93.2 (11th)
View from the enemy: 3 Shades of Blue
Here’s our first look at the Grizzlies, a team that’s in the middle class of the league, but someone that Oklahoma City always seems to struggle a bit with. Memphis has a good amount of talent and is absolutely worthy of the Thunder’s full attention tonight.
Memphis coming in: The Grizzlies last played Monday, beating the Lakers in L.A. Memphis has won three of its last five.
Rudy Gay versus Kevin Durant is the headliner matchup, but really I think this game is more about Mike Conley and Russell Westbrook. Conley has quietly been playing pretty solid ball this season and when he gets going in both distributing and scoring, the Grizzlies have a third option which makes them tough. Westbrook mailed in a stinker against the Spurs so you’d think he’d come out ready to go.
Jeff Green has his hands completely full with Zach Randolph inside. I remember the buzzer-beater loss in Memphis last season Randolph had like 13 rebounds in the third quarter. I doubt Green spends a ton of time on Randolph and we see more of a Nick Collison-Serge Ibaka lineup inside. Especially since Marc Gasol gives the Grizz a pretty formidable tandem in the paint.
James Harden and O.J. Mayo are two nice scorers off the bench for each team, but the difference could be in a player like Sam Young or Greivas Vasquez. Both guys can create and score so if Eric Maynor isn’t ready to go, the Thunder’s going to need big contributions from Harden and the bench.
In terms of record, the Grizzlies don’t look all that scary. But this is a team that’s underachieved to a degree this season and after a 19-point whooping put on the Lakers, might be coming together a bit. OKC had better be ready to play, otherwise that stellar bounce back record could take a hit.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Favorite Team.