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Vitals: Thunder at Grizzlies

Vitals: Thunder at Grizzlies Vitals: Thunder at Grizzlies

Originally Published: Dec 11, 2009 3:59 PM CDT

Dave Carty
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

Oklahoma City Thunder (11-9) at Memphis Grizzlies (9-12)
Friday, December 11, 2009, 7:00 p.m. CST
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Game 21 of 82

Anticipated Starting Lineups

Oklahoma City (Away)
Memphis (Home)
Russell Westbrook
16.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 6.9 APG
Mike Conley
9.0 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 4.7 APG
Thabo Sefolosha
6.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
O.J. Mayo
17.6 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.9 APG
Kevin Durant
28.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 3.2 APG
Rudy Gay
20.6 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.1 APG
Jeff Green
14.7 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG
Zach Randolph
18.9 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.0 APG
Nenad Krstic
8.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 0.6 APG
Marc Gasol
14.4 PPG, 9.6 RPG, 2.3 APG

Oklahoma City: G/F, Kyle Weaver (shoulder, out); G, Kevin Ollie (knee, out).
Memphis: F, Darrell Arthur (pectoral, out).

Where to find it?
On TV: Fox Sports Oklahoma
On Radio: Thunder Radio Network

What you need to know?
The Memphis Grizzlies are dead-last in the NBA in attendance and pretty close to the bottom in defense as well. The Grizzlies allow 105.8 points per game. Yet, for a franchise that has had a difficult time getting any traction since its inaugural 1995-96 season, Memphis might have its best core of players in its history. Three recent lottery picks – Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay – are in the Grizzlies starting lineup. Equally promising Marc Gasol starts in the paint and oft-maligned Zach Randolph continues to put up double-doubles on a nightly basis. The youth movement in Memphis parallels Oklahoma City to some degree, but the Grizzlies still have a lot to prove.

The plan shouldn’t change much against the Grizzlies. Last time out against Golden State, the Thunder had to combat the blistering pace of the Warriors’ offense. They held firm and punished the Golden State defense at every turn. Memphis plays a slower game than Golden State, but capitalizing on offense will be the name of the game again. The Thunder has proven itself on defense, but strong offensive efforts have still lacked at times. Shot selection and good ball movement are the keys to offensive success for the Thunder. This season, when Jeff Green shoots over 45 percent from the field, the Thunder is 7-2; maybe the best indicator that open opportunities create points and lead to wins.

Who to watch?
Randolph can get mean with the best of them. The Thunder will need to account for both Gasol and Randolph in the post, which could lead to his fourth-straight double-double. Last time out against Cleveland, Randolph punished the Cavaliers for 32 points, hitting all 11 free throws. He can be a game changer when he’s on and, right now, he’s on.

As strong as the Memphis starting five looks, the Grizzlies bench leaves something to be desired. With Allen Iverson back to his Philly roots, there isn’t much scoring coming off the bench. James Harden could utilize his time against tired legs and the weak Memphis bench.
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