Memphis Grizzlies (12-10, 5-7 road) vs. OKC Thunder (17-4, 8-1 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 107.5 (4th), Grizzlies– 101.2 (21st)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 101.6 (12th), Grizzlies – 98.9 (7th)
Pace: Thunder – 93.2 (8th), Grizzlies – 92.2 (13th)
View from the enemy: 3 Shades of Blue
I know what you’re thinking: Haven’t the Thunder played the Grizzlies six times already this season? No, just twice, both in Memphis with both being close, as these games tend to be. The last time Memphis was in OKC though, it wasn’t especially close as it was Game 7 and Russell Westbrook was dropping a triple-double on them.
But that doesn’t mean this one will be easy. Despite not having Zach Randolph, Memphis is hanging tough and is going to be ready to grind one out with the Thunder.
Memphis coming in: The Grizzlies played last night, blowing out the Hawks in Atlanta.
Three Big Things
1. No easy baskets. Zach Randolph is a definite Thunder killer but without him, it makes Memphis a lot more one dimensional and also makes Serge Ibaka more of a weapon. Marreese Speights was brought in to replace him and while he’s a high energy player and good rebounder, he’s not a guy Memphis can count on late in games to get key points. It’s about limiting Gasol and making sure every point Memphis gets is earned the tough way. The more jumpers, the better.
2. No Thabo. A lot of pressure will be on Gay to carry Memphis tonight, so it’s key for KD to keep focused on his old buddy. The past two games, Thabo has been the one largely covering Gay as KD was able to chill out on Tony Allen. But that’s not going to be the case in this one as Thabo is out once again.
3. Turnovers. It’s how the Grizzlies tend to survive against the Thunder but last time, OKC controlled the giveaways well. And they won. Without Randolph, Memphis is going to rely on creating turnovers and hoping the Thunder have an off night. Otherwise, if the Thunder are focused and ready, they should handle things.
Tip at 7:00. Go Home Game.