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Game Preview: Grizzlies and Thunder look to head into break on high note

Will a rejuvenated Durant be the difference for OKC this time? Or have the Grizzlies figured out the Thunder?

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

While the subject of this post is about what the Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder will be doing tonight on the court, it's worth noting that there's a substantial difference between the All-Star breaks for these teams. The Thunder bow out tonight along with the Grizzlies, but OKC returns to the court next Thursday, February 19th while the Grizzlies get the extended intermission and won't be back in action until three days later on Sunday, February 22nd. Three days is a significant chunk of time that the Grizzlies will hopefully use to their advantage, but enough with the digression.

Injury Report

Memphis: Tony Allen (probable with sore hamstring/ankle); Vince Carter (out, foot tendon ouchie.)

Oklahoma City: Steven Adams is out (boomerang injury right hand, fourth metacarpal fracture)

Recently for Memphis

The fact that Tony Allen is listed on the injury report is pretty hilarious. I'm sure that he is indeed actually sore, but the Grindfather is coming off two of his better games in the past month. And he looked fine on this play last night:

tony finish

Aside from some really nice focus from TA, the Grizzlies have also been benefitting from the presence of what some are calling Super Z-Bo. Whether he's using his classic moves to beat people into submission or defying Father Time with jukes and power slam fails attempts, Zach Randolph has lost his mind in the best of ways.

Recently for Oklahoma City

The Thunder have scored 255 points in their last two games. That's pretty alarming if you consider that the Grizzlies have scored 278 points in their last three games. As mentioned above, Kevin Durant is looking much more like a demigod instead of the frail version that Memphis saw a couple of weeks ago. Rookie Mitch McGary has recently broken out with big games against the Nuggets and the Clippers (31.05 PER!!), but that was also against the Nuggets and the Clippers.

Here's a snippet of thoughts on Jeff Green from Marine Mangiaracina over at Welcome to Loud City. Check them out for more on the Thunder!

Furthermore, the presence of Jeff Green freed up Tony Allen. Allen has been famous for shutting down Durant in the past, and is known for a very physical brand of defense. Dion Waiters, Allen's defacto target, really didn't know what hit him. Waiters finished the night shooting 3 of 14, and it was largely due to Allen keeping him away from the rim. Meanwhile, Green's ripple effect was felt further out still, as Courtney Lee and Tony Allen were able to spend time on Russell Westbrook. Unsurprisingly, Westbrook shot 5 of 16.

So far, Dave Joerger has done a nice job of keeping Green and Allen engaged throughout the game. They'll certainly both be playing pretty big roles tonight. Outside of the wing matchups, either Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph (or maybe both) should leave with full tummies after feasting on Kendrick Perkins all night.

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2014/15 NBA Season
39-13 (16-8 road)
27-25 (15-8 home)
February 11th, 2015
Chesapeake Energy Arena in OKC
7:00 PM CDT
Fox SportSouth / 92.9 FM ESPN
Possible Starters
Mike Conley PG Russell Westbrook
Courtney Lee SG Andre Roberson
Tony Allen SF Kevin Durant
Zach Randolph PF Serge Ibaka
Marc Gasol C Kendrick Perkins (lol)
2014/15 Advanced Stats
94.1 (T-26th) Pace 97.2 (8th)
104.9 (10th) OEff 102.5 (16th)
100.0 (6th) DEff 101.3 (10th)
50.3 (T-12th) RebR 51.8 (4th)