MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (29-15)
at OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (34-11)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma City -9.5, Total: 190
Memphis travels to Oklahoma City on Thursday night in its first game since trading Rudy Gay to Toronto.
The Grizzlies recently shipped out Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi to ultimately end up with Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye. Memphis cleared a lot of cap space in the trade and arguably fared the best in the three-team trade. Unfortunately for Memphis, those players are unlikely to play Thursday, as they need to take physicals and get situated in their new cities. Grizzlies PG Mike Conley (ankle) is also questionable for the game, giving the Thunder a major advantage. However, in the 2012 calendar year, Memphis went 3-0 ATS (2-1 SU) at Oklahoma City with this season's victory coming by 10 points.
Can the Thunder win and cover the monster spread? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. For NBA Totals, the experts are a stellar 18-6 (75%) in the past six days with StatFox Gary going 9-1 and StatFox Brian at 5-2 since Friday. For the season, StatFox Scott is a strong 66-48 (58%) in Totals, while Gary is a solid 53% (60-54-4). For Best Bets, Scott is 8-4 ATS (67%) since Jan. 24 to boost his season Best Bets mark to 54% ATS (67-58-1). Brian is at 51.4% ATS (69-67-3) after a 4-2 ATS mark in the past four days.
The Grizzlies lost Rudy Gay, but they picked up nice pieces in the trade with Toronto and Detroit. Memphis got SF Tayshaun Prince who is a good defender and three-point shooter (43%) with championship experience and a selfless attitude. PF Ed Davis is a high-energy guy off the bench who can provide rebounds and blocks while SF Austin Daye is a shooter with incredible size. As for Grizzlies currently on the roster, C Marc Gasol (13.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG) has been on a tear lately. He is averaging 20.3 PPG (57% FG), 9.0 RPG, 4.0 APG and 2.0 BPG over the past five contests. PF Zach Randolph (15.8 PPG, 11.6 RPG), who is likely to see the biggest increase in shot attempts with Gay traded, must start scoring the basketball at a higher rate. Over the past nine games, Randolph is averaging just 11.8 PPG on 39% FG. Despite his low point totals, Randolph is still grabbing 10.1 RPG during this stretch with four games of at least a dozen rebounds.
The Thunder are coming off a 105-96 loss to the Lakers to close out their road trip with a 2-4 ATS mark (3-3 SU). But they have a great chance to turn things around playing a depleted Memphis team. SF Kevin Durant (29.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 4.4 APG) is on one of the best scoring stretches of his career (a career that includes multiple scoring titles). He is averaging 35.5 PPG over the past six games, shooting 47% from the field, 49% from three and 96% from the line, making 77-of-80 free throws. He has also added 6.8 RPG and 5.7 APG in that period as well. PG Russell Westbrook (22.5 PPG, 8.4 APG, 5.4 RPG), on the other hand, has really struggled with his shot, making just 29% FG (2-of-14 threes) in the past three games. He’ll need to improve his shot selection in order to keep the Thunder playing at the level they are. SG Kevin Martin (15.1 PPG) scored only nine points in Sunday's loss to the Lakers, a number he’ll have to top as he is the third scoring option on a team that doesn’t have many. But Martin is a big reason with the Thunder are 19-3 SU (14-8 ATS) at home this season, averaging 16.9 PPG on 48% FG and a blistering 51% from downtown.