Memphis Grizzlies (29-15, 12-8 road) vs. OKC Thunder (34-11, 19-3 home)
Offensive Rating: Thunder – 112.4 (1st), Grizzlies– 104.3 (17th)
Defensive Rating: Thunder – 103.5 (8th), Grizzlies – 99.9 (2nd)
Pace: Thunder – 92.9 (8th), Grizzlies – 88.7 (28th)
View from the enemy: 3 Shades of Blue
Well this game looks a lot different now than it did 24 hours ago. The Grizzlies have made a significant move removing one of their best player, but regardless, still bring in a very good team to Oklahoma City. It’s still kind of weird to think about the Grizzlies without Rudy Gay, especially considering how he torched the Thunder in the first and only meeting between this two teams this season. Still, he’s gone now and the Grizzlies will refocus their attack around their stellar interior duo and gritty defensive style.
Coming off a disappointing loss in LA, and then three days off to think about it, this is a pretty significant game for the Thunder, and not just because it’s against a top four team. A loss tonight and the Thunder are now an ugly 3-4 in their last seven games, something very unattractive. Plus, that’s 0-2 against Memphis this season, both losses coming in OKC. That’s no good.
Oh: And this is the first home game for the Thunder in 14 days, so that’s cool. A lot going on in this game.
Memphis coming in: The Grizzlies last played Monday, slipping by the 76ers.
1. No Gay. It’s very unlikely their new pieces will be in place for tonight, so the Grizzlies will be very shorthanded tonight. Who defends Durant? Memphis will rely heavily on Quincy Pondexter, which isn’t a good thing for them.
2. Perk and Z-Bo. Remember when they got mad at each other and had a little meet-up in the hallway? Feels like a long time ago, but this is the first time these two have seen each other since that happened.
3. Benches. In the first meeting the Grizzly bench torched OKC’s. Like smoked it. Wayne Ellington, Jerryd Bayless, Pondexter, Marreese Speights — it was a bloodbath. Except now, the Memphis bench is much different. Speights, Josh Selby and Ellington are all gone and now they rely on Darrell Arthur and Bayless, at least until their new pieces make it to town. If OKC’s second unit gets whipped again tonight, that would be a very bad thing.
Tip at 7:00 CT. Go Peake.