The Memphis Grizzlies and the OKC Thunder currently occupy the 10th and 11th seeds respectively in the Western Conference. This is the third matchup between the two sides this year and the season series is evenly split so far.
Fixture: Memphis Grizzlies vs OKC Thunder | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Wednesday, March 24th, 8 PM ET (Thursday, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies are back in playoff contention after winning three of their last four matchups. They beat the Boston Celtics in overtime in their most recent game. Some slick ball movement set the tone for that victory as Taylor Jenkins' men recorded a season-high 38 assists.
Jonas Valanciunas has quietly had an impressive year with the Memphis Grizzlies. The big Lithuanian has recorded a career-high 12.3 rebounds per game this year. He's averaged 19 points and 13 boards across the two matchups against the OKC Thunder this season.
Rookie Desmond Bane and Grayson Allen have been the Memphis Grizzlies' best shooters from range. Bane's averaged 10.1 points per game since February on a 42.2% clip from downtown. Meanwhile, Allen has managed 10.7 points per game on 42.5% three-point shooting during the same tenure.
Key Player - Ja Morant
The focus will be on Ja Morant who recorded a triple-double to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a win in the first matchup against the OKC Thunder this season. Morant's athleticism was on display against Boston on Monday as he managed 29 points and nine assists, including a highlight dunk. His scoring efficiency has dipped a bit this season but Morant is finding all sorts of ways to get closer to the rim regularly.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
G Ja Morant, G Grayson Allen, F Dillon Brooks, F Kyle Anderson, C Jonas Valanciunas
OKC Thunder Preview
Despite fielding experimental rotations in every other game, the OKC Thunder are too good to tank. They fielded the second-youngest starting lineup in NBA history against the Houston Rockets and still ended up winning. They followed it up by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves on the road.
OKC Thunder bigs Aleksej Pokusevski and Moses Brown seem to have figured it out following their stint in the G-League. Pokusevski nearly had a double-double against Minnesota with 13 points and nine boards while Brown managed a whopping 18 rebounds.
Al Horford has missed four games due to rest since the All-Star break and could return against the Memphis Grizzlies. George Hill remains inactive with the OKC Thunder likely to finalize a deal for the veteran before the NBA trade deadline.
Key Player - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander entirely outplayed Ja Morant in the last matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the OKC Thunder by dropping 30 points and five assists. Gilgeous-Alexander's shot creation has improved significantly and 87.1% of his field goals made this year are unassisted, which is a league-best record. He's averaging 23.7 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game this season.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G Theo Maledon, F Luguentz Dort, F Isaiah Roby, C Al Horford
Grizzlies vs Thunder Match Prediction
The Memphis Grizzlies have been in some form of late and their road record hasn't been too bad either. They conceded 126 points against Boston but their defense has seen an uptick in general.
The OKC Thunder are in good touch too, but they're likely to shuffle the pack once again with the regular players returning to the lineup. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, it could disrupt the chemistry that the young guns have developed in recent matchups.
In any case, the game is too close to call an outright winner, but the Grizzlies have more incentive to play hard and should come away with a close-fought win.
Where to watch Grizzlies vs Thunder?
Local coverage of the game will be available on FOX Sports Southeast and FOX Sports Oklahoma. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.