Two teams with tons of young talent collide as the OKC Thunder take on the Memphis Grizzlies. Both these Western Conference franchises aren't expected to make the postseason but the Grizzlies are still in with a chance.
Fixture: OKC Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies | NBA Season 2020-21
Date & Time: Wednesday, February 17th, 9 PM ET (Thursday, 7:30 AM IST)
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
OKC Thunder Preview
The OKC Thunder are having the perfect tanking season possible. Their young guys are showing out and they've stretched LA Lakers, Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, and most recently Portland Trail Blazers to the limit. Yet they have lacked the edge in the clutch and occupy the 14th seed in the West which helps their draft plans.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is expected to join OKC Thunder on their three-game road trip and could make his return against the Memphis Grizzlies. The likes of Hamidou Diallo and Kenrich Williams have taken over with their hustle plays during his absence. Lu Dort has also seemingly gotten over his rough offensive patch and had 23 points against Portland last night.
Key Player - Al Horford
Al Horford is the glue that binds this OKC Thunder team together. Horford's season average of 14.7 points and 6.9 rebounds don't highlight his recent surge in form. His veteran leadership will come in handy against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder attempt the seventh-most three-pointers per game and Al Horford's screen-and-handoff plays help in creating several open looks.
OKC Thunder Predicted Lineup
G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, G Luguentz Dort, F Kenrich Williams, F Darius Bazley, C Al Horford
Memphis Grizzlies Preview
The Memphis Grizzlies' stop-gap run has continued to endure this season. They roared back into playoff contention with a seven-game winning run in January but another slump since then has seen them slip out of the top eight seeds. Ja Morant's dwindling form and Jaren Jackson Jr. continued absence have also contributed to Memphis' 12-13 record.
The Memphis Grizzlies are fresh off a walloping at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans. Taylor Jenkins' men have failed to maintain their rhythm throughout games and that's rather characteristic of young sides. Having said that, this young core consisting of the likes of Morant, Dillion Brooks, and Kyle Anderson will be confident about facing another rebuilding side in OKC Thunder.
Key Player - Jonas Valanciunas
Jonas Valanciunas has been on fire this month. The big Lithuanian has averaged 19.8 points and 11.3 rebounds in the last six games for the Memphis Grizzlies. He'll be a constant lob threat against OKC Thunder and his screening game will open up empty lanes to the rim for Morant and co. to exploit.
Memphis Grizzlies Predicted Lineup
G Ja Morant, G Grayson Allen, F Dillon Brooks, F Kyle Anderson, C Jonas Valanciunas
Thunder vs Grizzlies Match Prediction
Although the front office has different aspirations, the current OKC Thunder side plays each game to win. In the Memphis Grizzlies, they have an opposition who's struggling for form and does not have the ability to turn the game on its head in a few minutes. The game is still likely to be close, but the Thunder should come away with a win.
Where to watch Thunder vs Grizzlies?
Local coverage of the game will be available on FOX Sports Oklahoma and FOX Sports Southeast. You can also live stream the same via the NBA League Pass.