WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (25-39, 10-22 away) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (38-24, 21-9 home)
WHERE: Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
WHEN: 6:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Dillon Brooks (Out, Toe); Kyle Anderson (Out, shoulder); Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, Quad)
OKLAHOMA CITY- Paul George (Questionable, Shoulder); Andre Roberson (Out, Knee)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Avery Bradley, Justin Holliday, Jaren Jackson Jr, Ivan Rabb
OKLAHOMA CITY- Russell Westbrook, Terrance Ferguson, Paul George, Jerami Grant, Steven Adams
The Grizzlies are back in action Sunday night after an out-of-nowhere 30 point win just last night in Dallas. The Grizzlies put it to the Dallas Mavericks 111-81. It was the Grizzlies we have been used to with some solid defense while showing the game down to grind out the win on the road. It gave a little bit of hope of what this team could be capable of.
However, tonight they quickly travel to Oklahoma City to take on an impressive Thunder team. They too played on Saturday, but they did not have as good as luck, losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Thunder have been on a brutal stretch of games losing five of their last six with the season being in question after their poor play. Many have touted them as the best shot to take down Golden State, but the games after the All-Star break have not shown anyone the results they were looking for.
The Grizzlies look to continue their success from last night and take down a quality opponent on the road. Both teams will be close to empty after playing a full game the night before, so we could see some interesting lineups out there between J.B. Bickerstaff and Billy Donovan.
Here is one thing to watch in tonight’s contest:
Paul George the possible MVP
There are so many storylines in this game to watch for even if the Grizzlies have looked terrible as of late. Jonas Valencuinas and Steven Adams will have a entertaining battle down low, Russell Westbrook has been unbelievably bad at shooting the ball this season, or the strange resurgence of Joakim Noah. The only thing is none of these storylines can compete with what a season Paul George has had this far.
Paul George is on track for an MVP type season, vaulting himself into the conversation after taking this Thunder team over. His stats have told the story as he is averaging 28.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists this season. Just compare that to his career averages of 19.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists. That in itself is something to appreciate as NBA fans.
The Thunder have lost Russell Westbrook as their go to guy this year but it is completely ok because George has played that good this season.
Outside the raw numbers, George has impacted the game defensively too as he was known for before this season began. He was always know as a 3-and-D guy which is why this profession is quite impressive after two years coming back from his horrific leg injury. Now, he is playing at the peak of his powers for all to see each game the Thunder play.
The Grizzlies will have a huge problem tonight with George ready to cause havoc if he plays since there aren’t many defensive options. Memphis will either have to choose between George or Westbrook most possessions because the on ball defensive skill lacks on this roster. Look for this Thunder team to space it out and make the Grizzlies choose between George or Russ. Either is a challenging feat, but they could take advantage of a slumping Thunder team.
All in all, I don’t see the Grizzlies winning back to back games on the road. The Grizzlies will have to tap more in to the roster. It will take a full team effort, and I think Oklahoma City will show out and support their team. It’ll be a good time to watch an impressive team in the Western Conference.
Spread: Oklahoma City–N/A
I would assume the Thunder win this game handily. The night before the game there is not a spread out. It may mean key players (ok Paul George) are game time decisions which could be big for the Grizzlies.
Oklahoma City- 111, Memphis- 95