Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder: 2010-2011 Game 51 Preview; Thunder Bigs Will Be Tested

This also counts as an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts during the game here.

Records: The Oklahoma City Thunder (33-17) vs. The Memphis Grizzlies (27-26)

Time: 7:00 PM Central Daylight Time

Place: The Ole Snow Fort, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports Net Oklahoma, SportSouth-Memphis

Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), Soul Classics 103.5 FM WRBO

Enemy Blog(s): Straight Outta Vancouver, 3 Shades of Blue

Previous Meeting(s): Jan. 4, Jan. 9

I really wanted a clever headline for this one, there are so many to chose from when you're playing the Grizzlies. Bad News Bears. Winnie the Pooh. Bernstein Bears. Bear in the Big Blue House. Even Ewoks!

Unfortunately, this edition of the Grizzles have much more bite than they did two years ago (last season too, for that matter) so the demeaning pop culture terms hardly apply. Memphis is currently in a neck-in-neck battle with the Portland Trailblazers to determine the 8 seed in the West. To make matters worse, Serge Ibaka may very well miss tonight's game (As Dogburt reported earlier). The Grizzlies have given Oklahoma City some tough games not only this season, but in the past as well. Zach Randolph has proven to be too much for Jeff Green to handle, so the question remains: Who can step up tonight against the inside duo of Randolph and Gasol?

BELOW: The Answer (Hint: It's not A.I.), Predictions 

...The answer is... there is no answer. Nick Collison may be the best hope, and you can bet he'll work his tail off. Collison is a great accent in the frontcourt, but not a great feature. Krstic will probably play tonight, but I think he may still be a little hobbled. I fully expect Aldrich to get a decent amount of play tonight if Ibaka is truly out, call it a trial by fire. If nothing else, it'd be nice to see him use his fouls up on Zach Randolph, at least make him work for his 20 and 10 (though it should be noted that he went 2 for 14 last night against the Lakers).

In other news, Rudy Gay should also present match-up problems for the Thunder tonight, especially to take advantage of the already out-manned Thunder near the basket. To round out the rest of the Grizzlies starting line-up, Conley can be a threat if he starts to heat up and Sam Young is coming off of a monster 22 point game the night before. Also, look for Tony Allen off the bench and I wouldn't be surprised to see Xavier Henry on the floor for a few minutes as he returns to Oklahoma City.

All in all, I think this could be a dangerous game for the Thunder. They're playing well now, but the Grizzlies are angry after a frustrating game in Los Angeles. Mama always taught me never to mess with an angry Grizzly Bear. If the Thunder shoot well, they can win, but I don't see it happening.

Prediction: Memphis 102, Oklahoma City 100

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