Unlike a wild first meeting between these two teams this season, look for a return to normalcy and a much lower scoring game when the Thunder visit the Grizzlies in Memphis Tuesday.
Unlike the 236 combined points these teams put up the first time they met this season, look for a rather low scoring game relative to the posted total Tuesday night when the Oklahoma City Thunder (12-8, 7-13 ATS) pay a visit to the Memphis Grizzlies (12-9, 9-12 ATS) at FedExForum in Memphis, TN at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southeast.
The posted total at Bet365 is 202½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Atypical First Meeting
The first meeting between these teams this season was not what you would expect, especially from a the perspective of a Grizzlies’ team that usually plays stiff defense and plays at a very deliberate pace offensively, as Memphis scored 43 points in the fourth quarter to win 122-114! The Grizzlies went an unconscious 12-for-17, 70.6 percent from three-point land in that game, a feat they do not expect the replicate the rest of the season.
Likewise the Thunder shot 50.6 percent from the floor overall even as the losing NBA picks in that contest, and although Oklahoma City is a fine shooting team, do not expect better than 50 percent shooting again against this Memphis defense. Granted the Grizzlies’ defensive numbers have not been up to the high standards of the teams of the last few years, but they are still limiting opponents to 45.6 percent shooting overall.
Memphis 27th in Scoring
That Memphis defense is uncharacteristically 14th in the NBA in points against at 99.6 per game and 23rd in field goal percentage allowed, but it has been playing better during a current hot stretch that has seen the Grizzlies go 9-3 in their last 12 games. They could still use a statement win here though as all three losses during this hot streak have come to playoff teams from last season.
Furthermore, the defense has had to step up for Memphis to win games because the offense has remained stagnant, currently ranking 27th in the NBA in scoring at 96.3 points per game. Sure that is partly due to playing at such a slow pace with the Grizzlies ranking 24th in the league in pace rating, but frankly the shooting has been poor also with Memphis ranking 27th in field goal percentage (42.3 percent) and 29th out of 30 teams in three-point shooting (30.8 percent).
Moreover, the Grizzlies 13-for-54, 24.1 percent from beyond the three-point arc over the last four games, so unlike the first encounter between these teams this year, look for Memphis to do most of its damage in the paint this time.
Thunder Lost Three-Point Touch?
The Thunder on the other hand are second in the league in scoring with 107.6 points per game and third in field goal percentage at 46.5 percent. However, they have not shot their three-pointers as well this year as in recent seasons ranking 11th at 35.3 percent, and they have gone stone cold beyond the arc as of late at just 29.6 percent the last four games, no thanks to a 3-for-19 performance from Russell Westbrook.
Kevin Durant has not been much better going just 3-for-13 from downtown the last two games, so it is understandable that the offense is struggling lately when the team’s Dynamic Duo are in such a funk. Yes, we know that the duo can bust out at any time because both superstars are simply too good to keep shooting so poorly, but is facing the Memphis defense a spot to break out of a slump?
Two Good ‘under’ Teams
Finally, both of these teams have been quite ‘under’ friendly so far this season, as it has gone 13-7 in all Oklahoma City games and 12-9 in all Memphis games. Also, that almost inexplicable first meeting this season snapped a 4-0 ‘under’ run in this head-to-head series.
We think that the first meeting was a total aberration that will not be repeated here, but that game could be giving us the benefit of a slightly inflated total here so go ‘under’ when Oklahoma City visits Memphis on Tuesday.
NBA Pick: Thunder, Grizzlies ‘under’ 202½ (-110)