NBA Prediction Week 6 Wednesday Night Game Preview/Pick- Oklahoma City vs. Memphis
Oklahoma City Thunder (16-4) @ Memphis Grizzles (10-10) 12/11- 8:00PM EST
Lines and Odds:
Line: OKC -5.5
In their first meeting since last year’s playoffs, the Oklahoma City Thunder will try to keep rolling against the short-handed Memphis Grizzles on Wednesday night.
Last year in the Western Conference semifinals, the Thunder couldn’t keep pace against the Grizzles without their star Russell Westbrook… this time around, it will be the injury-plagued Grizzles without their star center Marc Gasol (sprained MCL) who is still out, as well as forward Ed Davis (ankle), guard Tony Allen (hip) and now swingman Quincy Pondexter, who will be out indefinitely with a stress facture in his right foot.
For Oklahoma City (16-4), winners of three straight and 11 of 12 games, are close to full strength and are now once again one of the best in the NBA as they head into Memphis after pulling out a 101-92 victory Tuesday night in Atlanta.
“We finally got a couple of stops in a row at the end,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks, whose team limited the Hawks to 35.6 percent shooting. “Any time you hold an NBA team in the 30s percent-wise in field goals, then you’re doing a good job defensively.”
Kevin Durant stayed hot scoring 30 points along with 10 boards. Serge Ibaka added 19 and 10, while Westbrook struggled shooting just 6 of 21 for 14 points, 11 assists and nine boards.
“You have nights when you don’t make shots, but you can’t have nights when you don’t play defense,” said Westbrook, who was credited with four steals. “I take pride in defending every single night and trying to help my team win games.”
Durant since the 2008-09 season, is averaging 29.0 points in 29 meetings against the Grizzles, including the playoffs and will need all they can get as the Thunder have lost three in a row and eight of their last 11 games in Memphis.
The Grizzles are 2-3 in their last five games and are trying to keep it together until they can get some key players healthy.
“Guys are stepping up. That’s what we need. We need everybody now, said forward Zach Randolph. “It’s tough. It’s real tough. We’ve just got to come out and play. Everyone has to step up like they’ve been doing.”
Jon Leuer is one of those players who has stepped-up, averaging 15.0 points over his last four games, doubling his season mark of 7.3.
‘We’ve had a lot of guys go down,” he said. It obviously makes it tough, but it opens up other opportunities for guys to come in and contribute.”
And an all-around contribution is what it’s going to take to beat the hot OKC Thunder who are a (minus) -5.5 point favorite on the road, but get the latest odds up until game time right here at Wonder Punter.
The Thunder are amongst the best in the league with 104.6 points per average, while Memphis as dropped off from last years mark of 89.3 to allowing 96.0 points per game this year.
With a depleted Grizzles team, I predict the Thunder covering the spread and leaving Memphis with a victory.
Prediction/Pick: Oklahoma City
By Mario Martinez- Wonder Punter