Grizzlies face tough test in OKC
(Sports Network) - The Memphis Grizzlies are off to their best start in franchise history.
To keep that run going, they'll have to overcome the Oklahoma City Thunder and their string of five consecutive victories in Wednesday night's clash between a pair of teams with the longest active winning streaks in the Western Conference.
Like the Thunder, the Grizzlies come into this game riding a five-game winning streak, having not lost since their season-opening setback at the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 31. Their 5-1 mark is the best start for the club since it won four of its first five to begin the 2000-01 campaign, the franchise's final one in Vancouver.
Never before had the Grizzlies opened a campaign with a win in five of their first six, but did so thanks to a convincing 104-86 victory over the Miami Heat on Sunday.
With the Heat looking to take away the inside scoring by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, Wayne Ellington came off the bench to set career highs with seven 3-pointers and 25 points, while Rudy Gay added 21 points and eight boards. Mike Conley also chipped in 18 points and nine assists, while Randolph still managed 18 points and 12 rebounds.
"We came out with a little more energy and urgency at the beginning of the game and we didn't play from behind. That was huge and then we made shots. They tried to take Zach and Marc away early, which they did, but we kept battling and started making shots," said Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins.
Memphis shot 14-of-24 overall from behind the arc and picked up its 14th straight win at home dating back to last season, extending a club record. The team's six 3-pointers made in the second frame matched a club single-quarter record, while Ellington's seven 3-pointers were the most by a Grizzlies player since Mike Miller knocked down eight on April 6, 2008.
The Grizzlies, though, must now travel to Oklahoma City, where they split two meetings last season with the Thunder. Kevin Durant's squad has won four of the past six at home in this series overall and took three of the four encounters a season ago.
Durant notched 26 points and nine boards in Monday's 92-90 victory over Detroit, which Russell Westbrook paced with a game-high 33 points as well as 10 rebounds and four assists. He netted 14 points in the fourth quarter, one that the Thunder began on a 13-0 run to rally in front.
"He was getting involved all over the floor in the first half," said Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks about Westbrook. "He had a good floor game and I can never complain about his effort."
Kevin Martin finished with 13 points and Serge Ibaka netted 11 with seven rebounds and six blocks in the victory.
The Thunder, set to play for the fifth time in seven days, have held their opponents under 42-percent shooting in each contest of their five-game winning streak.
Memphis will be playing with heavy hearts on Wednesday night, one day after assistant general manager Kenny Williamson passed away at the age of 65 following a battle with advanced cancer.
The Grizzlies said they will announce plans to honor Williamson, known by the nickname "Eggman," during the season at a later date.
11/14 10:57:52 ET