This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.
Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time
Place: The New Myriad, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, SportSouth-Memphis
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), Soul Classics 103.5 FM WRBO
Previous Meeting(s): None.
As the Thunder get a huge win in Big D, they run straight into another roadblock at home. While normally I might not give this game a second look, the Thunder did lose to Memphis on the road two games ago, and Memphis is now gunning to put their record back at .500.
I don't know what it is, but the Thunder have always had trouble with Memphis. Maybe it's their tendency to score on the inside well, which the Thunder have little defense against. Maybe it's their ability to completely dominate us when it comes to rebounds. Maybe it's the fact that they always shut down Jeff Green. Or maybe they can just outscore us, plain and simple. In fact, I think it's a combination of all of the above things.
Regardless, the Grizzlies are rollin' in general. They just defeated the Jazz by a sound margin, which puts them on a three game winning streak that started at the Lakers. That's nothing to sneeze at. But, there are a few factors in the Thunder's favor, like the second half of a back to back, and the Thunder playing at home. All in all, it seems to even out.
The Thunder will have to really crash the boards if they're going to win this game. Randolph and Marc Gasol are a tough combo down low, but the Thunder can nearly equal it (at least in terms of rebounding and defense) with Collison and Ibaka. The smaller lineup generally doesn't work too well, as witnessed by comparing Jeff Green's stat line from the last game to Zach Randolph's. The Thunder will also need to make sure Memphis doesn't have any scorers come out of the woodwork, like Tony Allen. All in all, the Thunder need to control the pace and limit the offensive droughts. If they can do that, I foresee a win tonight.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 101, Memphis 99