Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies (-4.5, 184.5)
Grizzlies lead best-of-seven series 2-1.
The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t forgotten the opportunity they let get away two seasons ago. They are in a similar situation Monday when they host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinal series. Memphis had a 2-1 lead over the Thunder in the 2011 semis but Oklahoma City notched an epic triple-overtime victory and eventually won the series. A win would put the Grizzlies in position of winning the series in Oklahoma City on Wednesday.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is well aware of what happened in 2011 and doesn’t see the deficit as a cause for worry or panic. “Same situation we was in a few years ago, so we know how to handle it,” Durant said on Sunday. Memphis is facing better odds this time around with Oklahoma City star Russell Westbrook sidelined but know a loss will even the series with the Thunder having two of the final three at home. “We’re in the same position now,” said guard Tony Allen, “so it’s time for us to conquer that moment and take advantage of these games ahead of us and try to win two games.”
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Oklahoma City shot just 36.4 percent from the field in the Game 3 loss to drop its series accuracy rate to 39.9. The Thunder have been bottled up by the Memphis defense and miss the way Westbrook opens up the floor for easy scoring opportunities. Forward Serge Ibaka has been woeful with 12-for-39 shooting and guard Thabo Sefolosha is averaging only 4.3 points. Backup guard Kevin Martin scored 25 points in Game 1 and has just 19 on 8-of-28 shooting over the last two games. “This is a broken record but I know we can hit shots,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said. “I’ve seen the ball go in the basket many, many times with our team and I have confidence that will happen and hopefully soon.”
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Allen is known for his standout defense but he has averaged 13 points – and 3.5 steals – in the two Memphis wins. He’s not a very good shooter but has stellar court presence and his hustle creates opportunities as well as his thefts on the defensive end. He pairs well with solid point guard Mike Conley to make things tough on opponents. Conley dropped to 14 points in Game 3 after his epic performance in Game 2 when he hit the go-ahead basket and had 26 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Power forward Zach Randolph is coming off a subpar eight-point outing but is averaging 9.3 rebounds while thriving in the post with center Marc Gasol (averages of 21.3 points and eight rebounds).
* Thunder are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Grizzlies are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
* Under is 4-1 in Thunder’s last five road games.
* Road team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
1. Oklahoma City is averaging just 89 points in the series. The Thunder averaged 105.7 during the regular season.
2. Durant has three straight double-doubles in the series and is averaging 32 points and 12.3 rebounds.
3. Grizzlies reserve F Quincy Pondexter is shooting 55.6 percent in the series and has made five 3-pointers.