Oklahoma City At Memphis
When: 9:30 PM
ET, Saturday, April 26, 2014
Where: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Tensions are running high with the Oklahoma City Thunder trailing Memphis in the Western Conference first-round series heading into Saturday’s crucial Game 4 on the Grizzlies’ home floor. Memphis recorded a 98-95 overtime victory on Thursday to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook is upset over criticism hurled his way. Making the task of evening the series tougher is the fact that Memphis has won 15 straight home games.
Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 30 points in Game 3 but Durant was 10-of-27 shooting – he missed all eight 3-point attempts – and Westbrook was just 9-of-26. “Nobody is perfect – not me, not Kevin, not anybody,” Westbrook told reporters on Friday. “You want your teammates to make shots but when the game is on the line, you’ve got to make decisions.” Memphis let a 17-point fourth quarter lead slip away before recovering to notch its second consecutive overtime victory. The Grizzlies are aiming to eliminate Oklahoma City for the second straight season.
TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN, FSN Oklahoma (Oklahoma City), SportSouth (Memphis)
ABOUT THE THUNDER: Durant is averaging 33 points in the series but made just 40 percent of his shots in the consecutive losses, while Westbrook shot 37 percent in the defeats despite averaging 27.3 points in the series. Another problem is that Westbrook has nearly as many turnovers (12) as assists (15) and having a shoot-first mentality isn’t helping matters when he’s 5-of-25 from 3-point range. “That’s how you get assists, if you make shots,” Durant told reporters. “I wouldn’t say we were just coming down shooting every time. We were aggressive, but we have to do a better job of getting guys easier shots. That falls on us two. Everything falls on us two.”
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Veteran guard Beno Udrih was buried on the bench and played just 55 minutes after being acquired from the New York Knicks at the trading deadline. Things have changed in the postseason after Udrih was forced into the rotation due to Nick Calathes drawing a suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy. The 31-year-old is averaging 13 points on 11-of-14 shooting over the past two games, providing a huge lift off the bench in a series in which Oklahoma City is receiving nearly nothing of quality from its reserves. Udrih has done his damage over the last two games while playing an average of 14 minutes.
1. The teams have played seven playoff overtime games since 2011 and Memphis has won six of them.
2. Thunder bench players Reggie Jackson (3-of-19 shooting while averaging five points), Caron Butler (4-of-16, four points) and Derek Fisher (4-of-11, 4.7 points) have been nonfactors in the series.
3. Memphis C Marc Gasol has yet to have a huge game in the series and is averaging 15.3 points and seven rebounds.
PREDICTION: Grizzlies 95, Thunder 94
Stats and Records
Memphis Off vs
Oklahoma City Def
96.2 Points For
99.8 Points Against