Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Memphis: Mike Conley is PROBABLE (sprained left wrist)
Oklahoma City: Kevin Durant is OUT (sprained left great toe); Mitch McGary is OUT (periostitis left tibia)
Recently for the Thunder
OKC has won three games against teams with winning records in the month of January (WAS twice, GSW once), and they're coming off one of the most embarrassing feats possible in the NBA this year: losing to the Knicks. Russell Westbrook scored 40 points on 30 shots in that game and finished with a team-low plus/minus, although the absence of Kevin Durant usually forces Russ to play like a button-mashing 8-year-old at an arcade.
Recently for the Grizzlies
Memphis has lost only one game in the past three weeks of play and has basically destroyed their last four opponents through the living juggernaut that is a revitalized Zach Randolph. What's just as important to note is that the Grizzlies have pulled off four wins this month without the services of All-Star-To-Me Mike Conley. Players are finding their roles and thriving in them. We're talking about one of those teams that's humming along like a buzz saw right now.
Keys to Victory
- Pressure Gauging Mike Conley. I'm very confident that Mike's going to come out hungry against Westbrook & Co. after being ignored by the All-Star selection committee yet again, especially seeing as how Westbrook was one of those selected ahead of him. It's going to be crucial for Dave Joerger to temper Mike's output so he doesn't end up aggravating an injury, but someone as cool-headed as Mike shouldn't overexert himself.
- Beat Some Ass. The Grizzlies need to physically abuse the Thunder if the referees are feeling open-minded tonight. Force the game to be put on Russell Westbrook, and then watch the Jenga stack crumble to earth. BONUS: Tonight's head official, James Capers, has one of the league's lowest percentage of fouls called against home teams.
- Utilize the New Weapon. The Thunder haven't seen Jeff Green in a Grizzlies uniform. They, along with most of the NBA, haven't prepared for a physical, athletic small forward in a Grizzlies uniform for a while. With Kevin Durant sitting tonight, there's a great opportunity to make Green an offensive focal point during stretches of the game. Get him attacking the rim and catch some of the Thunder's paint presence off guard.
I'm expecting an angry bunch of bears to come out onto the court tonight and continue on their path of destruction.
|2014/15 NBA Season
34-12 (20-5 home)
23-23 (10-16 road)
|January 31st, 2015
|FedeExForum, Memphis, TN
|7:00 PM CST|
|TNT / Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
|Mike Conley||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Andre Roberson|
|Jeff Green||SF||Perry Jones|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Marc Gasol||C||Steven Adams|
|2014/15 Advanced Stats|
|94.2 (26th)||Pace||97.2 (9th)|
|105.3 (9th)||OEff||101.3 (21st)|
|100.8 (8th)||DEff||100.9 (T-9th)|
|50.2 (T-14th)||RebR||52.0 (3rd)|