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Thunder vs. Grizzlies preview: Familiar grit-and-grind, new-look Oklahoma City

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The Donovan offense versus the Memphis grit will be interesting. So might Matt Barnes versus the entire Thunder roster.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Where They At: Oklahoma City Thunder

The Thunder are still working through Billy Donovan’s system, which was fluid and awesome this preseason until a disjointed display against the Dallas Mavericks in their last time out. It’s preseason, so still really more about getting reps and staying injury-free—the true test of Donovan’s changes won’t come until the regular season.

Donovan's rotation looks pretty set, with Mitch McGary being a "guy to watch" because he’s demonstrated that his ability is greater than his role on the team has been.

Where They At: Memphis Grizzlies

Another year, another lineup of tough, crafty veterans by the Grizzlies. While they're a very familiar enemy, Jeff Green’s role bears watching. The former Thunder forward was an in-season acquisition last year for the Grizzlies, but he didn’t get comfortable in his role by his own admission. With a full camp under this coaching staff and the eternal lack of shooting in Memphis, Green could be a more important contributor this season if he can establish some chemistry.

The Matchup

In years past, the Thunder have always had the upper hand on the Grizzlies (when healthy, anyway), but have been forced into winning on Memphis’s terms. Will Donovan’s system and Sam Presti’s roster be enough to lift the Thunder above the grit-and-grind 80-point slugfests we’re used to? Hopefully, although who knows if either team wants to play that style in preseason.

If the game doesn’t intrigue you, how about the return of Matt Barnes, fresh off of dissing Serge Ibaka and attacking a man revered by Thunder players in Derek Fisher? A perfect storm I could imagine: Steven Adams boxing out Zach Randolph, Ibaka boxing out Barnes, and KD talking trash from the bench. Maybe we’ll get a "who’s the fake tough guy" showdown (with no real tough guy punches thrown, of course).

Prediction: Oklahoma City 100, Memphis 86

2014-15 NBA Season Game
@
3-0
(Won 3)

3-0
(Won 3)
October 16th, 2015
FedExForum
7 PM Central Standard Time
TV: N/A
Injury Report: Enes Kanter (DTD), Cameron Payne (DTD), Josh Huestis (DTD), Jordan Adams (DTD), Russ Smith (DTD)
This Season's Matchups: N/A
Probable Starters
Russell Westbrook PG Mike Conley
Andre Roberson SG Courtney Lee
Kevin Durant SF Jeff Green
Serge Ibaka PF Zach Randolph
Steven Adams C Marc Gasol