Memphis (19-17) at Oklahoma City (24-11)
When: Wednesday, January 6th 2016
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Time: 9:35 ET | TV: ESPN
The Oklahoma City Thunder try to rebound from a 116-104 home loss to Sacramento the other day when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night. The Thunder played the game without star Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook struggled to fill the void. Westbrook was just 6-of-23 from the floor and turned the ball over seven times as the Thunder fell for just the third time in 16 games. Durant has been ruled out of tonight’s game with a big toe injury he sustained in a road win over Charlotte on January 2nd. Durant was a key factor the last time these two teams met on December 8th scoring a game-high 32 points including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. The Thunder won that game over Memphis 125-88. One bright spot in the loss to the Kings was the play of Anthony Morrow, who made his first start since November 18th. He poured in a season-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Morrow, who has struggled at times this season, has made at least three 3-pointers in four of his last six games. He hit his only long-range attempt in the rout of the Grizzlies last month, as Oklahoma City went 13-of-26 from beyond the arc. Center Enes Kanter, who averages 7.7 rebounds a game, has only 9 total boards in his last three games. The Thunder are 2nd in the league in scoring (108.5) and 3rd in FG% (47.5).
The Grizzlies have split the first two games of their three-game road trip and have won three out of four overall. The defeated Portland 91-78 in their last game on Monday with their best defensive effort of the season. Zach Randolph carried the load with 26 points and 18 rebounds as Memphis snapped a three-game road losing streak. Randolph’s effort came off the bench and he shot 11-of-18 from the floor while the five starters combined to shoot 15-of-51. PG Mario Chalmers is averaging 24 points in the two games against the Thunder this season including a season-high 29 on November 16th. Marc Gasol leads the team in scoring (16.2), but was limited to just seven points in Monday’s game. While the Thunder are one of the top scoring teams in the league, the Grizzlies are second-to-last averaging 96.0 points a game. At 19-17, the Grizzlies are the 6th seed currently in the playoff race, but the highest they could realistically get this year is 4th. They are 3.5 games behind the Clippers for that spot. After tonight, Memphis returns home for a six-game homestand.
We saw the Thunder struggle without Durant the other night and the Grizzlies have won three of four. Memphis has covered three of the last five in this series and I think they keep it close tonight.
Pick: Grizzlies +5.5