There's no love lost between the Grizzlies and Thunder, so tonight's Western Conference showdown should be as entertaining as ever. Our NBA odds preview can be found inside.
The NBA betting odds lines have been released and the board shows the Grizzlies laying seven points at home. Memphis has been excellent this season and will be at home, where Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and company have had immeasurable success.
An O/U of 195.5 can be found right now, so it looks like oddsmakers are expecting a relatively slow tempo to this game.
There seems to be no stopping the Grizzlies. They're on a serious roll, having won five straight games to improve their overall record to 34-12 this season. They're a stellar 9-1 over their last 10 contests, with standout wins over Dallas (twice) and Portland. It's safe to assume Memphis will be one of the highest seeds out of the West when everything is said and done.
What's more, Memphis has been off since a cupcake Thursday win over Denver. The Grizzlies jumped all over the Nuggets on their way to a 99-69 victory at home. It was a walk in the park from the start and the game was done and dusted by halftime, which means Memphis will be very well-rested coming into tonight's game.
So long as both Gasol and Randolph remain healthy, the Grizzlies are going to be a force, though they could stand to use more help. The health of Mike Conley, who's been one of the more consistent point guards in the NBA, is a little concerning, but it appears Memphis has the necessarry depth to move on without really skipping a beat.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder just cannot stay healthy. As soon as it looks like they're back at full strength and ready to go on a run, they have another setback. It's mostly to do with the superstar pairing of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who have missed their fair share of games already this season. In turn, it's put Oklahoma City in a hole that they're going to have to climb out of.
Recent struggles have plagued the Thunder, as they've dropped three of their last four. It's a stretch that includes understandable losses to Cleveland and Atlanta but then a bad road defeat to the lowly Knicks. You'd have to think Oklahoma City will want to bounce back with a much more competitive effort in a showdown game against a "rival".
We'll obviously have to keep tracking the status of Durant, who missed practice Thursday and is likely heading for a game-time decision tonight. If KD can't go, the impetus will fall on Westbrook to shoulder the offensive load, something he seems to have a knack for trying to do anyway.
It's not easy to get a read on this game while Durant's status is clouded in doubt. It looks like he's more doubtful than questionable, but we've seen a lot of late changes, so there's of course a chance he could suit up.
That would help Oklahoma City a ton and would take a lot of pressure off of Westbrook, who believes he has to do essentially everything offensively without KD out there.
The weird thing? We actually like the Thunder to cover here, regardless of whether or not Durant is active. The public is going to be drawn into a play on the Grizzlies considering the winning streak they're on, but we believe Oklahoma City will not go down easy in this spot. With Westbrook guiding the road team, we're banking on a Thunder cover as our NBA pick, with the road team still itching to prove they are going to be a serious challenge in the conference come playoff time.
Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder +7