Thunder, Grizzlies renew rivalry
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder will look for a measure of revenge Wednesday night when they head to FedExForum to meet the Memphis Grizzlies.
In last season's Western Conference semifinals, the Grizzlies eliminated the Thunder in five games, robbing Oklahoma City a chance of another trip to the NBA Finals.
Yes, the Thunder were without All-Star guard Russell Westbrook, but the Grizzlies held OKC under 100 points in all five games en route to their first conference finals.
Fast-forward almost six months and things are going very well for the Thunder. They've won three straight and share the third-best record in the league.
Memphis is floundering around .500 and is missing its best player, center and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol.
The Thunder's winning streak reached three on Tuesday night when they dispatched the Atlanta Hawks, 101-92. That was the start of a short road trip which ends Wednesday night.
It wasn't an easy victory as twice the Thunder built double-digit leads in the fourth quarter, and twice the Hawks cut it three. Each time, OKC responded both with solid offense and even better defense.
"We always tell each other, 'weather the storm', no matter what," Kevin Durant said. "If they close the lead or if we're down 20, we just weather the storm, keep working and keep pressing. We took it a possession at a time and when they cut it to three, we were able to just settle down, get stops and make shots as well."
You'll never guess who led the Thunder in scoring. It was the NBA's leading scorer, Durant, who piled up 30 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and two blocks.
Serge Ibaka finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Russell Westbrook netted 14 points and handed out 11 assists. Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb both scored in double figures off the bench.
The Grizzlies halted a two-game slide Monday night with a 94-85 home victory over the Orlando Magic. Wednesday's tilt with the Thunder ends a six-game homestand where Memphis is only 2-3 thus far. The Grizzlies went 32-9 at home last season, which was a franchise record.
Zach Randolph paced the Grizz with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jon Leuer came off the bench with 16 points, while Mike Conley and Jerryd Bayless both cracked the 10-point mark.
Memphis played once again without Gasol and starting two-guard Tony Allen, who is listed as day-to-day with a hip contusion. Ed Davis is also day-to-day with a left ankle sprain.
The Grizzlies found out Monday that swingman Quincy Pondexter suffered a tarsal navicular stress fracture in his right foot and will be out indefinitely.
In regular-season meetings between the two, the Grizzlies have won three of the last four and four of the last six in their own building.
12/11 10:31:23 ET