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Game 82 Preview: Oklahoma City vs. Memphis; Fun Night at the Ford Center

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

Records: Memphis Grizzlies (40-41) at Oklahoma City Thunder (49-32)

Time: 7:00 PM Central Standard Time

Place: The Ford Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722), ESPN

Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.

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

Previous Meeting(s): Dec. 11th, Jan. 22nd

For Matchup Analysis, go here.

Backstory: Huzzah for pointless games!

Usually, when my team has a pointless game, they always tend to lose it. It's not to say that the Thunder won't try to win this game, but when, ultimately, nothing is on the line but 5 counts of our fingers in the win column, it's hard to put in maximum effort.

Given that we've lost 4 out of our last 5 and Scott Brooks' general reluctance to dip outside of his rotation for fatigue issues, I'd guess that the Thunder will play their starters tonight. The Grizzlies are also playing their starters, but it's pretty obvious that the team had given up once their playoff chances were out of reach, with 8 losses in their last 10 games.

With all of that said, this game will probably have its' share of excitement. Two young teams going at it, with some possible appearances from the deep bench. Rumble is rumored to be doing his ladder jumping stunt tonight. The Love's Ultimate Thunder Fan Finale will be tonight. Other interesting things will go on. In the end, this night will be more about culture than it is about basketball.

Nevertheless, there will be a basketball game going on, and the Thunder will need to tighten up their inside defense if they expect to win. Last time, the Grizzlies won, courtesy of great inside scoring from Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook was completely shut down by Mike Conley, and actually had 2 more turnovers than assists, which is never a good thing. I'd expect something similar to happen tonight, with maybe another surprise from Hasheem Thabeet. ESPN will cover the game, but I have no idea why.

Prediction: Memphis 90, Oklahoma City 87