Memphis Grizzlies (18-36) at Oklahoma City Thunder (31-25)
Don’t count the Clippers out just yet! We came up short when we backed what was a red-hot Detroit Pistons team at home against Blake Griffin’s old team, the Los Angeles Clippers. I expected the Clippers to come out flat and discouraged after hearing trade rumors at the deadline the night before about basically their entire team. Couple that with the fact that they had to play against their former superstar in Griffin, I didn’t expect a good effort from the former Lob City squad.
Boy was I wrong. The Clippers fell behind early but showed a lot of heart as they battled back and ended up taking the game outright, on the road, 108-95. Griffin played with a lot of emotion, which was expected, but I think it may have hurt him in this one. Griffin had his worst game in his short Piston’s career. Scoring just 19 points on a rough 7-19 shooting night. We will look to get back on track tonight when we take a look at the Memphis Grizzlies as they play on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Memphis Grizzlies will travel to Oklahoma City to play the Thunder Sunday afternoon. Memphis is struggling badly at the moment, losers of seven of eight and eight out of their last ten games. There is a sign of hope for the Grizzlies though as they somehow managed to keep point guard Tyreke Evans after Evans was rumored to be traded to several different teams before the trade deadline.
Evans is expected to play tonight after missing the last six games. The Thunder have injury troubles of their own and may very well be short handed tonight. The Thunder are -7.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 206.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:00 PM PST from Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have struggled at times this season. And at other times have looked like legit title contenders. The rotation was always going to be a hard one to nail down as they had three ball dominant players all on the court at the same time. The Thunder looked like it finally had things sorted out as they played great in January and ran up a 10-4 record during the month, including an eight-game winning streak.
That winning streak seems like forever ago as the Thunder have now lost five out of their last six games. With the one win being a blow out road win against the Golden State Warriors. The rough patch has been against some weak competition as well. The Thunder have recent losses to the Lakers twice, the Pelicans without Demarcus Cousins, and the Denver Nuggets. It seems that this team struggles to get up for games against bad teams, they will be playing another bad team tonight in the Memphis Grizzlies.
To make matters even worse, the Thunder are likely to be very short-handed tonight. Star players Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony are both expected to miss tonight’s game as they did not practice yesterday. They were seen practicing several different rotations they haven’t used much this season, and it looks like they are going to try and take advantage of the soft matchup to experiment with different looks.
The Memphis Grizzlies stink. They have been without their best player, Mike Conley, most of the season, and will be without him the rest of the way out. Most expected Tyreke Evans, the best player they have left, to be traded away and shockingly the Grizzlies couldn’t make a deal for the star guard. Evans should be back on the floor tonight after missing several games with an injury. That should be a nice boost for a struggling Memphis team.
This is a strange game. If both teams were healthy, I would expect the Thunder to win the game easily. But this is the NBA and teams never stay fully healthy. It just so happens that the Grizzlies are getting healthy right at the same time that the Thunder are getting banged up. That questionable tag is always a tough one to handicap, but I would expect both Westbrook and Anthony to miss tonight’s game, and to be honest, they probably don’t need them tonight to beat a bad Memphis team.
I know that OKC is a very talented team, but they are so inconsistent that it is hard to back them at such an inflated number. If you look at the actual results for OKC, and not what we thought they were going to do this year, they really aren’t all that good. And right this second? They are very banged up and playing poorly against bad teams.
I can’t believe I am saying it but give me the Memphis Grizzlies tonight on the road. 7.5 is just too many points to lay for a Thunder team playing without Westbrook and Anthony. I expect a close game and wouldn’t be overly surprised to see the Grizzlies shock the Thunder and win the game outright. I will snatch up a handful of points and hope the Grizzlies can keep it close.