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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game Preview

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A quick turnaround could be positive for the Grizzlies...

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Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (11-12, 4-8 Home) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (11-16)

When: 7:00 P.M. CT

Where: FedExForum, Memphis, TN

How to watch/listen: Fox Sports Southeast, 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Desmond Bane (personal, out), Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee, out), De’Anthony Melton (left shoulder, out), Killian Tillie (left foot, out), Justise Winslow (left hip, out)

Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Knee, Game Time Decision), Trevor Ariza (personal, OUT), George Hill (Thumb, OUT).

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

Memphis: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas

Oklahoma City: Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort, Kenrich Williams, Theo Maledon, Al Horford


A treacherous week for the Memphis Grizzlies didn’t start off great, but the good thing about the NBA, some times you get to bounce back the very next night. For the Grizzlies, after a loss last night to the New Orleans Pelicans at FedExForum they’ll be right back home 24 hours later with another opportunity. The Oklahoma City Thunder will be in their second game of a back-to-back as well when they arrive at FedExForum. The Thunder fell last night at home to the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Grizzlies haven’t seen the Thunder since the Orlando Bubble back in August of 2020, a matchup in which the Grizzlies blew the Thunder out in a 121-92 victory to help secure their play-in spot for the eighth seed.

Both teams are coming off of tough losses, and both teams are dealing with injuries to some key guys. How do the Grizzlies bounce back, and break even in this set of back-to-back games at home?

Oklahoma City Thunder v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Feeling the game out.

The Grizzlies are short handed, and being a team that is short handed coming into their second game of a back-to-back can make things challenging. As Taylor Jenkins would say, the Grizzlies need to focus on their “habits” to win this game tonight. Stay solid defensively, and make each shot count on the offensive end.

Using their energy (that is remaining) in this matchup, but using it in a smart manner, must also be a focus. It’ll be interesting to see if Jenkins rolls out the zone in this matchup to save the Grizzlies legs. That zone didn’t work well for the Grizzlies at all against the Pelicans last night, so it’ll be interesting to see if Jenkins stays with it and if he does what the purpose is.

Breaking Even:

The Grizzlies are in the midst of a stretch that hasn’t happened since the 2016 NBA season, which is four games in five nights. The Grizzlies are in night two tonight, and breaking even in their first back-to-back has to be the mindset.

The Thunder don’t have any ‘big’ names, and it could be easy for Memphis to sleep through this game, but then again, this Grizzlies team most often fights no matter the opponent. Again, this stretch of games is just different for everyone involved. Having little to no options off the bench makes matters harder for the Grizzlies, but getting out of FedExForum tonight at .500 has to be the goal.

Prediction:

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was a game time decision last night against Portland, but didn’t play. If the Thunder have Gilgeous-Alexander, their entire floor game improves with him at the point. For the Grizzlies, if they move the ball, get stops, and get out in transition, I like their chances of getting back to .500 in their first back-to-back of the week.

Grizzlies 111 Thunder 106

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