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 Fedex Library, Memphis, Tennessee
TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports Tennessee
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1)
Backstory: Just another game, or just another surprise?
Okay, so there's not a whole lot to marvel over or write about when concerning the Memphis Grizzlies.But, contrary to popular belief, they are doing relatively well. Sure, they're only on pace to win 30 some games, but they've won their last 3 games against Minnesota, Dallas, and Cleveland. And the team is showing no signs of slowing down. The starting lineup has had the talent there, but they haven't yet had the teamwork in place in order to win. Until now, at least. With a lean, mean mix of veterans and young'uns in their starting lineup that Garry St. Jean could only dream of, this team is poised and in position to upset the Thunder tonight.
Meanwhile, the Thunder got their anger out when they played the lowly and depleted Warriors, and they're well rested going into tonight's game. They straight up dominated the Grizzlies last season, and history would say that the Thunder could easily be the team to end the Grizzlies win streak.
Below: Matchups, Prediction
Center: Nenad Krstic vs. Marc Gasol
Pau Gasol lite may not be as good as his brother, but he's definitely much better inside than Nenad Krstic. Expect limited minutes and less than 10 points for Krstic, while the majority of the game is spent with battles between Gasol, Collison, and Thomas, with Gasol winning most of them.
Power Forward: Jeff Green vs. Zach Randolph
The story of Jeff Green's season has been his struggles against bigger power forwards, but luckily for Jeff, Zach Randolph is much of a defender. Expect both of these guys to score bucket after bucket upon each other, and for each of them to get their fair share of rebounds.
Small Forward: Kevin Durant vs. Rudy Gay
Rudy Gay is quite the dunker, but history says that Kevin Durant will win this matchup every time.
Shooting Guard: Thabo Sefolosha vs. O.J. Mayo
O.J. Mayo is a solid overall shooting guard, and history has dictated that he usually performs above-average against the Thunder. But with Thabo Sefolosha guarding him now, who knows what will happen?
Point Guard: Russell Westbrook vs. Mike Conley
Mike Conley is a solid point guard, but not the best player on the Grizzlies by any stretch of the imagination. He'll provide scoring for them in the pinch, but Westbrook will have a better game.
Battle of the Benches:
For how good their starting lineup is, the Grizzlies bench is extremely thin. A lot of guys will play, and one will occasionally step up and be an X-Factor, but in general, they're all pretty ineffective. The only real notables are this years 2nd Pick in Hasheem Thabeet, and former Pacers PG Jamaal Tinsley. In any case, our bench has this thing covered.
Coaching and Intangibles:
The Grizzlies are at home, but that doesn't make that much of a difference, as it's a pretty quiet arena, and it's where we got our much-heralded 2nd win last year. Both teams are well rested, so all in all, it makes a pretty even intangibles matchup on the floor tonight.
I know things have been going well for the Grizzlies lately, but I'm still not convinced. This is a team we beat 3 times last year, and a team without any bench help. They could win, but they'd need everything to go right with all of their starters, and they'd need to put up a good defensive effort. That being said, this team can be dangerous, and they will be able to compete. But, in the end, I'll just chalk this one up as another Thunder win.
Prediction: Thunder 103, Grizzlies 97
Let's rock the library!
How do you think the game will go? Vote in the Poll!
And, again, feel free to drop any comments you might have during, before, or after the game below. I might be by during the game to drop my thoughts as well. Go Thunder!