WHEN: 1:00 PM CT
WHERE: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis: Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee meniscus surgery recovery, Out).
OKC: Darius Bazley (Left Shoulder, Doubtful), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Left Quad, Doubtful), Josh Hall (Knee, Out), George Hill (Right Thumb, Doubtful)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
Oklahoma City: Theo Maledon, Lu Dort, Aleksej Pokusevski, Isaiah Roby, Al Horford
Brunchin’ with the Bears.
The Memphis Grizzlies playing an unusually early 1 PM tip against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Grizz are hoping to secure the season series against the Thunder this afternoon. These two teams met about a month ago, with the Grizzlies winning easily 122 to 103. They are scheduled to play one more time following this game on March 24th.
The Grizzlies are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Denver Friday night, while the Thunder are still recovering after being drilled by the Knicks 119-97 Saturday afternoon.
Both teams will be playing a part as a back-to-back in today’s game – the Thunder on a SEGABABA, while the Grizzlies are playing on the front end of a back-to-back. It’s important for the Grizzlies to take advantage and get this one against the Thunder. It’s also important as the Grizzlies can distance themselves from a team they may be competing against when it comes down to the play-in at the end of the season.
The Grizzlies have been playing really good basketball as of late. And despite being one of the younger teams in the league, they’ve shown they can compete with the top teams. So what’s needed from the young Grizz to keep the momentum going?
Win the battle in the paint
I feel like this is something that can be said about every Grizzlies game. They currently sit at number one when it comes to points in the paint per game.
The last time the Thunder and Grizzlies faced each other, Jonas Valunciunas finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds. He was also instrumental in the Grizzlies pulling away in the fourth after OKC grabbed a small lead early on.
In their loss to the Knicks, the Thunder outscored New York in points in the paint, but were still dominated on the glass, as the Knicks finished 12 offensive rebounds. If the Thunder let the Grizz clean up on the offensive end, it’s going to make for a really long day for the Thunder.
Keep doing what you’re doing
The Thunder are probably going to be without two of their three top scorers the last time these teams played in Bazley and SGA.
There is no reason for the Grizzlies to try and do anything different. They just need to stay the course, as Coach Taylor Jenkins continues to figure out rotations as guys return from injury. It’s also a good spot to get Grayson Allen in the lineup, and see who deserves the minutes at the 2 between him, Desmond Bane, and De’Anthony Melton.
Just a month ago, Ja Morant recorded a triple-double against the Thunder. It’s reasonable to expect Ja to be even better this time around.
This is a game the Grizzlies should be in control of from the opening tip. The Grizzlies are just a better team than the Thunder, plain and simple.
Final Score Prediction – Grizzlies 119, Thunder 101