NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 2nd (All times eastern)
Memphis Grizzlies (28-22) at Oklahoma City Thunder (40-12), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Take a look at the teams Oklahoma City has beaten during its six-game winning streak and it's easy to see this squad is ready for the postseason. The playoff-bound Thunder will try to strike while the iron is hot once again tonight versus the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder have ripped off wins over the Clippers, Timberwolves, Heat, Trail Blazers, Lakers and Bulls, and handed a shorthanded Chicago bunch a 92-78 setback Sunday afternoon in the OKC. Granted the Bulls were without reigning MVP Derrick Rose (groin), but Oklahoma City took advantage to become the first team in the Western Conference with 40 wins (40-12).
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant netted 26 for the Thunder, who notched their fifth straight win at home. Oklahoma City is 23-4 as the host. Durant and Westbrook sat on the bench for the entire fourth quarter as Oklahoma City took a 29-point advantage into the final quarter.
"We played our best defense of the year," Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks said. "I like the way the guys got after the basketball. They challenged every pass, they challenged every shot."
James Harden provided 11 points off the bench for the Thunder. Oklahoma City is three games ahead of San Antonio for the conference's top seed and will play two straight road games against the Heat and Pacers following Monday's home bout with Memphis.
Memphis has won three of four games since a three-game slide and will close out a three-game road trip this evening.
The Grizzlies are 1-1 on the trip after notching a 99-95 victory in Milwaukee on Saturday, as O.J. Mayo scored 24 points off the bench and Rudy Gay posted 17 and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol had 13 points and 15 boards, while Marreese Speights posted 10 and 10 for the Grizzlies, who are 11-15 on the road and sixth in the conference standings -- one-half game behind Dallas and one-half game ahead of Denver.
"Quincy [Pondexter], Gilbert [Arenas], O.J. and Zach [Randolph] all came in and did yeoman's work. They were superb," said Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins. "We had 51 points from our bench, so what more can you say?"
Grizzlies forward Dante Cunningham rolled his ankle in Friday's loss to Houston and missed the Bucks game. Point guard Mike Conley did not play Saturday either due to a balky ankle, and both players are questionable for Monday's game. Conley is posting 12.8 points and 7.1 assists per contest.
Memphis will return home to host Golden State on Tuesday before hitting the road to Dallas and Miami. Memphis will start a back-to-back-to-back set this evening. Oklahoma City has won the first three meetings with Memphis this season and is going for a four-game sweep tonight.
The Grizzlies have dropped 24 of 30 meetings as the host in this series.
04/02 10:41:24 ET