Oklahoma City Thunder

OKC Thunder | Game #28 Preview: Grizzlies

Zachary Low

zacharylow88

Tip-Off: 8 PM CT

Location: FedExForum (Memphis, Tennessee)

Television: Fox Sports Oklahoma

Radio: WWLS 98.1FM OKC The Sports Animal

Twitter: Follow @ZacharyLowNBA for live-tweets and discussion during the game

The Oklahoma City Thunder trailed by 24 points midway through the third quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, but with just 4 minutes left in the game, OKC had stormed back to take a 5-point lead. Damian Lillard woke up from his three-point shooting slumber, however, and knocked down 4 straight threes to bury the Thunder in a 115-104 decision.

Tonight, the Thunder is on the road as they take on the Memphis Grizzlies, who were utterly embarrassed last night in a 144-113 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans. Like the Thunder, the Grizzlies have been dealing with their own litany of injuries.

In yesterday’s pregame presser, Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was “very close” to returning to action, and if he can somehow play tonight, that would set up an incredibly fun matchup between two of the league’s top young point guards. Ja Morant was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year last year as he led Memphis to a more successful season than many imagined, and he’s doing everything he can to turnaround the franchise and get back into the mix in a very powerful Western Conference.

Whether or not SGA plays is still yet to be determined (**UPDATE: He’s playing!**), but the key for the Thunder tonight will be what it has been much of the season: protecting the paint. Jonas Valančiūnas is severely underrated, and the Memphis big man has given OKC fits for years. If he is able to score early and often, that will open up the floor for the Grizzlies, and it will be that much harder for the Thunder to defend.

Projected Starters

Thunder

  • PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • SG: Theo Maledon
  • SF: Luguentz Dort
  • PF: Darius Bazley
  • C: Isaiah Roby

Grizzlies

  • PG: Ja Morant
  • SG: Grayson Allen
  • SF: Dillon Brooks
  • PF: Kyle Anderson
  • C: Jonas Valančiūnas

Injuries

Thunder

  • Trevor Ariza is OUT (not with team).
  • Moses Brown is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • Josh Hall is OUT (G League; two-way).
  • George Hill is OUT (right thumb surgery).
  • Al Horford is OUT (rest).
  • Ty Jerome is OUT (G League; on assignment).
  • Theo Maledon is OUT (health and safety protocols).
  • Aleksej Pokusevski is OUT (G League; on assignment).

Grizzlies

  • Desmond Bane is OUT (personal reasons).
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. is OUT (left knee meniscus surgery recovery).
  • De’Anthony Melton is OUT (sore left shoulder).
  • Jontay Porter is OUT (G League; on assignment).
  • Killian Tillie is OUT (sore left foot).
  • Justise Winslow is OUT (displaced left hip).

Head-to-Head

  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder is 26-17 against the Grizzlies (16-6 at home, 10-11 on the road) in the regular season and 9-10 in the playoffs (6-5 at home, 3-5 on the road).
  • Since arriving in Oklahoma City in 2008, the Thunder has won the season series against the Grizzlies 8 times and lost 3 times.
  • The Thunder went 1-2 against the Grizzlies last season (1-1 at home, 0-1 on the road).

Game Notes

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