NBA

Grizzlies-Thunder Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Memphis Grizzlies earned a third straight win when Marc Gasol made his long-awaited return last month against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Grizzlies have stayed hot with the reigning defensive player of the year in the lineup and earned their most recent victory with leading scorer Mike Conley out.

Memphis will try to overcome Conley's absence again while extending their season-high win streak to seven in Monday night's rematch with the Thunder, who are eager to bounce back following the end of their 10-game run.

The Grizzlies (26-20) have won 11 of 12 and a rejuvenated defense has played a significant role in most of those victories. Memphis is allowing an average of 86.7 points since Gasol's return from an injured left knee in a 90-87 win over Oklahoma City on Jan. 14.

The Grizzlies gave up an average of 97.6 points in their first 36 games this season and 98.3 during Gasol's 23-game absence.

Memphis, though, also has a challenge as it tries to keep winning with Conley expected to miss at least one week due to a sprained right ankle. If rookie Nick Calathes can duplicate his most recent performance, the Grizzlies might be all right during Conley's absence.

Calathes scored a career-high 22 points - double his previous season high - on 8-of-12 shooting, and Zach Randolph had a team-best 23 in a 99-90 win over Milwaukee on Saturday.

"He's a good player. He does a lot of things," Gasol said of Calathes, who also went 4 of 5 from 3-point range and didn't commit a turnover. "He has great vision and knows how to play the game."

After beating three straight opponents that aren't in playoff position, Calathes and the Grizzlies have the task of trying to end the Western Conference-leading Thunder's six-game home win streak. Oklahoma City (38-11) suffered its first loss in 11 overall games Saturday, 96-81 at Washington.

The Thunder shot 39.7 percent in that game, were 4 of 24 from 3-point range and committed 10 of their 21 turnovers in the first quarter.

"We were just a step slow in everything," forward Kevin Durant said. "We didn't start up with enough energy and intensity and that falls back on me as a leader."

Durant was the only Oklahoma City player with more than 14 points, scoring 26 for the second straight game after registering 30 or more in the previous 12. He scored 37 points in the loss in Memphis on Jan. 14 and had 18 in a 116-100 road win Dec. 11.

Oklahoma City is hosting Memphis for the first time since being eliminated in the conference semifinals with an 88-84 defeat May 15. The Grizzlies have won eight of 11 over the Thunder, including that five-game playoff series, and in four of their last six visits to Oklahoma City.

Zach Randolph helped close out that series with 28 points and 14 rebounds. He's averaged 22.8 points and 11.8 boards in his last four games against the Thunder.

Randolph had 23 points and 13 rebounds in last month's win over Oklahoma City, and Courtney Lee added a season-high 24 points.

Tagged: Thunder, Grizzlies, Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

NBA considering mid-season Vegas tournament? Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Adam Silver confirms the NBA has engaged in early conversations about the possib...

LeBron and Blatt 'will work together beautifully' Posted: Jul 14, 2014
Cavaliers head coach David Blatt on LeBron James' decision to return to Clevelan...

LeBron's back and so are the Cavs Posted: Jul 11, 2014
FOX Sports 1's Gary Payton weighs-in on LeBron's decision to return to Cleveland...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..