- When: Wednesday, 14 February at 7:00 pm CST
- Where: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
- TV: FSOK
- Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1 FM, 640 AM, 930 AM (Spanish))
- Line: OKC -4.0 | O/U – 208
The Set-Up: It’s difficult to plan for a team that has only been on the court for one game. When the Oklahoma City Thunder faced the Cleveland Cavaliers last night, the Thunder’s coaching staff had exactly one game of film to review in order to scout the Cavs. A good scouting report usually takes about 10 games worth of data to find patterns and habits.
The Cavs team that played last night in OKC was completely different than the team that got molly-whopped at home about three weeks ago. And with that, the Thunder struggled to come up with a defensive scheme to combat the new look Cavs.
Tonight’s game is the opposite of that. The Thunder and Grizzlies faced off three nights ago, but OKC was without two major contributors, as Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony sat out with injuries. The Thunder still did a number on the Grizzlies in that game with a starting line-up that featured three bench players. In this game, the Thunder will come in as the “new look” team, while the Grizzlies will basically be old hat. The question becomes: How different will the results be?
Previous Meetings: This is the third meeting of the season between these old rivals. The Thunder have won the first two meetings in completely different fashion. Oklahoma City needed a 4th quarter comeback and overtime to eek out a 1-point victory in early December. And three nights ago, with a starting line-up that featured Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson, and Alex Abrines, the Thunder took care of the Grizzlies in quick succession, winning by 18.
Looking At The Numbers
1. Pace – Memphis is last in the league in pace at just 96.2 offensive possessions per game. The Thunder aren’t a whole lot better ranking 19th, but have the ability to play uptempo if it is to their benefit. Well, this would definitely be a game where it would be to their benefit.
2. Offensive Rebounding – In a league that is eschewing offensive rebounding, the Thunder have stuck to their principles and turned offensive rebounding into an efficient weapon in this new space and pace league. And their WMD is Steven Adams. The Thunder’s center grabbed 12 offensive boards last night and is first in the league in offensive rebounds per game. The Grizzlies, meanwhile, rank 22nd in the league in Defensive Rebound Percentage.
3. Three-point shooting – Every time I point out that an opponent is severely lacking in the “shooting from deep” department, they always throw that back in my face. But do I learn? No! The Grizzlies are bottom third in every 3-point category. They can’t shoot. The Thunder would be best to mind the interior (like they already do) and let the percentages take care of themselves in the game.