Time: 7:00 PM CST
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City Thunder (43-30) snapped their 4-game losing streak on Friday night in Toronto, and will look to build on it tonight in Memphis against the Grizzlies (29-44). Though Mike Conley is listed as “questionable” with a sore left thigh, the undermanned and injury-plagued Grizzlies should still have plenty of fight in them. They’ve lost four of five ahead of tonight’s contest, and have long been eliminated from playoff contention, but they nearly upset the Thunder on March 3 in OKC — ultimately falling by four in a game Conley did not suit up in. With the Thunder carrying a 6-10 record since the All-Star break, they cannot afford to take any opponent lightly.
Tip-off is at 7:00 PM CST and will be televised on Fox Sports Oklahoma. The Thunder are 7-point road favorites according to Odds Shark.
- Andre Roberson: Out — Knee
- Mike Conley: OUT — Thigh
- Joakim Noah: Doubtful — Knee
- Kyle Anderson: Out — Shoulder
- Avery Bradley: Out — Shin
- Dillon Brooks: Out — Toe
- Jaren Jackson Jr.: Out — Thigh
- C.J. Miles: Foot — Out
|Team||EFG||FTA%||TO%||OREB%||OP EFG||OP FTA||OP TO||OP OREB|
What to Watch For
Season Series. OKC leads the season series with Memphis by a 2-0 tally, most recently beating the Conley-less Grizzlies 99-95 on March 3 at Chesapeake Energy Arena. To be fair, Paul George missed that game with shoulder soreness, but it was far too close either way. The Thunder trailed by 13 in the fourth quarter before Russell Westbrook scored 12 of his 22 points in the final seven minutes to steal it. Memphis may again be without Conley tonight, and OKC will have PG, but the Thunder have played far too poorly lately to immediately chalk it up as a win. The Grizzlies have beaten Utah, Houston, and Portland this month, so nothing comes easy.
Flashbacks. The Thunder looked like their January/early-February selves on Friday night in Toronto, knocking down 20-of-43 (46.5%) from long range, forcing 21 turnovers, and riding a balanced scoring effort to beat the 51-22 Raptors. Westbrook struggled with his shot (6/20 FG), but his 13 assists were the most he’s had in a game since Feb. 7. If he can find his teammates for easy looks (and they actually knock them down), the Thunder should have no trouble tonight in Memphis. Jerami Grant (5/8 3P), Dennis Schroder (4/7 3P), and Terrance Ferguson (3/7 3P) made their point guard’s life much easier on Friday, so continued rhythm from those three would be a welcomed sign for the struggling OKC offense.
MVPG? Despite the Thunder going 1-4 over the last five games, George has been slowly rounding back into MVPG form on offense. He made 40.7 percent of his threes over the stretch — up from the 26.8 percent the five games before that — including the 5-for-10 effort on Friday night in Toronto. The Grizzlies are bottom-10 in the NBA when it comes to defending the 3-point line, so George (and the others) have an opportunity to continue building tonight. They aren’t the marksmen early-2019 made them out to be, but they’ve proven they can stay hot for extended periods if they shoot themselves into a rhythm.
When Bears Attack. Assuming Conley plays, he will be the focal point of the Memphis offense — coming in averaging 20.9 PPG, 6.4 APG, and a 36.6 percent clip from three. Valancunias is averaging 19.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG in a Grizzlies jersey, and Delon Wright is posting 10.4 PPG. Outside of them, there are no healthy players available for Memphis that average double-figures. Avery Bradley put up 27 against OKC on March 3, but he’s out with a shin injury. The Grizzlies sort of need Conley to play, right?
Gallo’s game day report: