NBA Betting – KD-Less Thunder Host Grizz
Zack GarrisonNo comments
Down star forward Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder (24-11, 16-5 Home) suffered a rare home loss last time out, falling 116-104 to the Kings. Tonight (9:30 PM Eastern), they will try to bounce back against the Memphis Grizzlies (19-17, 8-11 Away) at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but will have to do so without the former NBA MVP once again.
Durant (26.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game) is suffering from a foot injury and hasn’t practiced all week. While Durant’s absence will put increased pressure on point guard Russell Westbrook to carry the offense, OKC arguably has bigger issues. In the loss to the Kings, the team gave up 50 points in the paint. Tonight, they’ll have to deal with the twin towers of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol.
“We’ve got to be able to hang our hat on defense,” OKC coach Billy Donovan told the Associated Press. “You’re going to have nights where you don’t shoot the ball particularly well.”
The good news for the Thunder is that Memphis has struggled on offense for much of the season. The Grizz have been held under 100 points in 14 of their last 17 games. Dave Joerger tried to spark his team by having Randolph come off the bench, and the move has worked so far. They beat the Portland Trail Blazers 91-78 in their last outing with 26 points and 18 rebounds from “Z-Bo.”
“I’m a team-first guy,” Randolph said to the AP. “It’s not about me, it’s about winning and whatever the coach thinks is best for the team. So that’s how I’m approaching it.”
While the Thunder have racked up the wins early in the season, they have struggled against the spread, going just 14-21 (including 8-13 at home), and they’ve failed to cover in five straight at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Memphis hasn’t been much better against the number (16-19-1 ATS, 9-9-1 road), but have taken four of the last six, straight-up, from OKC.
Pick: Grizzlies +5.5.