Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies (-2.5, 198.5 o/u)
A bad fourth quarter kept the Oklahoma City Thunder (6-4, 2-2 Away) from a four-game win streak on Sunday. Now, Russell Westbrook and company are looking to bounce back as they head to Tennessee to face the Memphis Grizzlies (5-6, 2-2 Home) tonight at the FedEx Forum (8:00 PM Eastern).
Minus star power forward Kevin Durant (hamstring), the Thunder took a two-point lead into the fourth quarter against the Celtics on Sunday. But the offense dried up late and OKC was outscored 28-11 in the final frame to fall 100-85. Westbrook had 27 points on the night, and Serge Ibaka added 16, but – without KD in the lineup – no one else reached double-digits.
Durant isn’t likely to be back before next week, which has the 2013-14 MVP frustrated.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” he told the Associated Press. “I want to play. I felt like I was in a good groove before, but yeah, it’s a part of the game. I’ve got to keep working to get back. I’m working my tail off every day to get back, and my teammates have been holding it down.”
The Grizzlies stumbled to a 3-6 start to the year but have looked better over their last two games.
The offense is finally starting to show signs of life, putting up triple-digits in the last two en route to downing the Trail Blazers (101-100) and Timberwolves (114-106). The back-to-back Ws ended a four-game losing skid for the team.
The team had been averaging just over 90 PPG, but point guard Mike Conley knew it was only a matter of time before shots started falling.
“We know we’re shooters,” Conley told the AP after the game against Minnesota. “We’ve been in this league a long time and we’ve made our names with what we do, so we just have to stay aggressive, stay confident and tonight we finally saw some go in.”
The Grizz shot a season-high 56.3-percent from the field against the defensively challenged T-Wolves.
Offseason acquisition Mario Chalmers, who was brought in to provide secondary scoring, is finally starting to pay off. The former Heat player hit double-figures in both wins, with 11 and 16 points against Portland and Minnesota, respectively.
The trends look good for the Grizzlies heading into tonight’s game. The squad is 4-1-1 ATS in its last six games at home against Oklahoma City, while the Thunder are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss, 3-7 ATS in their last ten games following an ATS loss, and 0-5 ATS in their last five games as an underdog. Memphis is the play tonight.
Pick: Grizzlies -2.5.
(Photo credit: Sean Davis (flickr) “Mike Conley” [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].)