The Warriors came out strong in our first half play last week but couldn’t close and we dropped back down to .500. I’m partial to the Memphis and OKC matchup in tonight’s ESPN doubleheader, so that’s the one we’ll try to win.
The Grizzlies mauled the Thunder two weeks ago in Memphis, winning every quarter and holding OKC to 80 points. You don’t have to be an NBA insider to realize Memphis must have slowed Russell Westbrook considerably. And in fact, Westbrook had his worst game of the season – 21 points on 19 shots, five rebounds and no assists. A lot of that has to do with Tony Allen, but Andrew Harrison played a part in 31 minutes of action and even scored 10 points on seven shots. Harrison won’t see nearly as much PT with Mike Conley back in the mix, but that doesn’t necessarily mean things will get easier for the Thunder. Look for Allen to draw Westbrook most of the night with Conley and Harrison somewhere in the mix. The Thunder don’t have a plan B, which means if the Grizz can slow Westbrook again, they will be in great shape defensively.
The front court will feature some mismatch potential. JaMychal Green and Chandler Parsons pair up with Andre Roberson and Domantas Sabonis. Green probably finds himself with Sabonis and should hold his own, but these four guys could cross either way. I don’t expect much out of Parsons offensively, who should have Roberson chasing him around but it is important that he doesn’t become a liability on the glass. With Marc Gasol busy bodying Steven Adams, it is important that both Green and Parsons rebound for Memphis.
Westbrook again figures to be more inefficient than what we’re used to but not quite as bad as last time either. Memphis shouldn’t come close to the 114 points it put up in the last matchup so I’m thinking under here. My only concern is that Roberson, Sabonis and Grant get on the boards against the Grizzlies’ forwards so keep a keen eye there. Let’s get ourselves a win!
Free Pick: Under 205