Memphis Grizzlies (32-24, 15-10 away) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (43-15, 23-6 home) 02/28- 8:00PM EST
Line: OKC -6.0
The Oklahoma City Thunder will take to the court on Friday night against the visiting and surging Memphis Grizzlies as they will be trying to avoid their fourth straight defeat at home.
It’s been almost five years since the Thunder have experienced a losing streak of this nature but most concerning is that the first three losses have all come at home. Granted, they played the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers, but losing to the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers 114-104 on Wednesday night shocked everyone that knows the game of basketball.
More surprising is that with the return of point guard Michael Westbrook back in the lineup, the Thunder were expected to run the table the rest of the way, but instead have dropped their first three in the midst of a six-game homestand at Chesapeake Energy Arena and the blame can pointed on the defensive end where they have allowed 106.1 points per game in their last seven compared to an NBA ranking of seventh (97.4 ppg) in their first 51 games.
“No one in the locker room, including myself, feels good about it,” Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said. “The exciting thing is we know we can do better. We just to maximize our potential.
“Defensively we’re not getting after it enough. We just have to keep focusing on that end and it will turn back around for us.”
Despite their recent home slump, the Thunder still hold the best record (43-15) in a very tough and competitive Western Conference and had won 23 of their first 26 before the defense decided to take a break.
“We just have to figure it out,” Kevin Durant said. “We have to help everybody else out and figure it out what were doing wrong out there. … we just have to focus on the next game.”
And that next game is Friday night against the Memphis Grizzlies, a team that they defeated 86-77 in a strong defensive showing back on Feb. 3 at home, allowing their second-fewest points of the season.
The Grizzlies have dropped two of three so far this season to the Thunder but have won four of the last six meetings at OKC, including two big games in last year’s Western Conference semifinal that saw them win in five games.
“You know it’s always going to be a good game,” Memphis center Marc Gasol said. “Playing over there, you know the place is going to be packed, fans are going to get into it and it’s going to feel like a playoff game. We enjoy that.”
Memphis has won five of their last six and seem to be hitting their stride getting it done at stopping the ball, allowing only 94.6 points per game with an impressive 84.9 per road contest since Jan. 5—tops in the league in that stretch.
Despite the recent struggles of the Thunder at home and the Grizzlies being able to win in OKC, the oddsmakers have still made Oklahoma City a (minus -6.0) point favorite for Friday night’s game, but stay up to date on the latest spread up until tipoff right here at Wonder Punter.