NBA Preview from The Sports Network|
Tuesday, January 14th
(All times Eastern)
Oklahoma City Thunder (28-9) at Memphis Grizzlies (17-19), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder seem to be back on track and
will try for consecutive wins Tuesday against the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Thunder had lost two in a row and four of six games until handing the
Milwaukee Bucks a 101-85 setback Saturday night. Kevin Durant, who totaled 78
points in consecutive losses at Utah and Denver, pumped in 33 points versus
the Bucks and made 8-of-18 shots.
Durant also grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out seven assists, and leads the
NBA with 29.6 points per game. In his last five games, Durant is posting an
average of 36.0 ppg. He is questionable Tuesday with a left wrist ailment.
Serge Ibaka recorded 17 points with 17 rebounds and three blocks for the
Thunder, while Jeremy Lamb added 17 points off the bench. Thabo Sefolosha
contributed 14 points in the win.
"That was a shootout. I thought our offense was much better in the second
half. We haven't shot the ball well in the last three games but we finally got
going in the second half and passing is what woke us up. Everyone was sharing
the ball," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
The Thunder outrebounded the Bucks 58-40 and avoided losing three straight
games for the first time this season. They have dropped two in a row on the
road and will also visit Houston on this quick trip. Oklahoma City, which is
6-3 in games played after a loss, owns a 12-6 record as the guest.
Before losing to the Jazz in Salt Lake City last Tuesday, the Thunder had
registered eight straight road victories.
Memphis will close out a four-game homestand Tuesday and is 2-1 on the stay
after Zach Randolph powered the Grizzlies to a 108-101 victory over Atlanta on
Sunday at FedExForum.
Randolph posted his 23rd double-double and 20th in the last 27 games with 18
points and 12 rebounds. Mike Conley scored a team-high 21 points and handed
out 13 assists, while Mike Miller netted 15 points off the bench. Courtney Lee
also scored 15 points and both Tayshaun Prince and Kosta Koufos added 11
points for the Grizzlies, winners in seven of their last 11 games.
"We're starting to play better as a unit, which obviously breeds confidence,"
Miller said. "We're starting to win games like that, which helps. Right now,
we're plugging away and getting better."
Conley has been playing well lately and is averaging 27.3 ppg in his last
three games. He leads Memphis with 18.1 ppg and has scored 10 or more points
in all but two games this season.
The Grizzlies are 9-12 at home and received good news this week on reigning
Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. Gasol returned to full practice and a
timetable for his return hasn't been set. The Grizzlies have played their last
23 games without Gasol, who was injured Nov. 22 versus San Antonio with an MCL
sprain in his left knee. Including the game Gasol went down, the Grizzlies
dropped 10 of the first 13 without him at full strength.
Gasol is averaging 16.0 points and 7.1 rebounds this season.
Memphis, which has scored 100-plus points in five straight games, suffered a
116-110 loss to Oklahoma City at home on Dec. 11, as Durant posted 18 points
and Conley netted 20. These two teams have split the last 10 meetings.
01/14 10:19:04 ET