NBA Picks Thunder vs. Grizzlies

Willie Bee

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 12:37 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 12:37 PM UTC

A perfect record is on the line Tuesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to Memphis to take on the Grizzlies. Scott Brooks and the Thunder hope to leave Bluff City with the mark still intact.

Tip-off from at FedExForum in Memphis is set for a little past 8 PM (ET), and the game will be televised on a couple of regional cable sports networks. The uncertainty of Kevin Durant for OK City is keeping betting numbers from being released at this point, but once they are out there, SBR's live NBA odds will have them.

The Thunder (28-9 straight up, 20-17 against the spread) arrive in Memphis with a perfect 6-0 mark against teams from the Southwest Division, covering all six of the contests in the process. The Grizzlies (17-19 SU, 16-19-1 ATS), meanwhile, have yet to win a game against teams from their own SW Division, standing 0-9 in that group but 17-10 outside their division.

Memphis' division record extends to 0-13 vs. SW squads when including the 4-game sweep in last season's Western Conference Finals at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs.

It's the second meeting between the Grizzlies and Thunder this season, the first also played in Memphis a little more than a month ago. Oklahoma City cruised to a 116-100 victory in the match as 6-point chalk, the final score easily eclipsing a 190.5 point total.

Thunder Locked With Blazers For NW Division Lead

That win in Memphis on Dec. 11 helped Brooks' bunch gain a little revenge after losing to the Grizzlies in five games during last year's conference semifinals. But the Thunder can't be worried about that now as they are deadlocked at the top of the NW Division standings with Portland, both teams just a game back of the Spurs for the best record in the Western Conference.

Russell Westbrook -- out since late December with a knee injury -- put on a show vs. the Grizzlies with a game-high 27 points along with nine assists and six rebounds. Oklahoma City also got excellent production off the bench with Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson combining for 35 points.

The Thunder made up for 21 turnovers by shooting over 56% from the floor in that contest. Oklahoma City ranks fifth in the NBA connecting on 46.5% of its field goal attempts, , and fifth as well in scoring (105.2 ppg).

Durant, the NBA's leading scorer at 29.6 PPG, is battling a sore left wrist from a fall in Saturday's 101-85 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Durant scored 33 in the match to go with 10 boards, but is listed as questionable for Tuesday after being held out of OKC's practice on Monday. He was limited to 18 points when the Thunder beat the Grizzlies in December.

Grizzlies Close 4-Game Homestand On Tuesday

David Joerger's first season at the helm in Memphis has had its share of disappointing moments, but the former D-League coach is seeing signs of his squad pulling out of a funk as the campaign nears the halfway mark. The Grizzlies will be looking to extend their win streak to three on Tuesday and have won seven of the last 11 after sitting 10-15 just before Christmas. NBA bettors are certainly starting to take notice as Memphis has covered its last six, the last five in that stretch going 'over' the total.

A big key in Memphis' recent surge has been improved shooting, and that helped the Grizzlies to a 108-101 win Sunday at home vs. the Atlanta Hawks. Mike Conley (21 points, 13 assists) and Zach Randolph (18 points, 12 rebounds) each recorded a double-double in the victory.

Memphis is also getting closer to the return of center Marc Gasol who has missed nearly eight weeks with a bum knee. The 7-foot Spaniard was expected to take part in Monday's practice, but still hasn't been cleared for game action.

I would be leaning towards the Grizzlies for our NBA pick, even with Durant in the OKC lineup, in part because of Westbrook being out which should help Conley direct Memphis on the offensive end. Keep an eye on SBR's live odds for the spread and total a bit later today.

My pick: Lean Memphis


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