The Grizzlies (5-1) lead the Thunder (6-2) 56-45 at the half, hoping to extend their five-game winning streak.
Through two quarters Kevin Durant has 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists but the player really making moves in the first half has been Quincy Pondexter from Memphis, who put up 13 points off the bench, including a big-time three that allowed the Grizzlies to eventually get on top.
Memphis started to control the tempo in the second quarter, really stifling the Thunder–and keeping their home crowd really quiet–with their third-ranked defense that they tout this season. The Thunder are playing slow and are struggling to get anything going on offense. The loss of James Harden is making itself evident in this game, as OKC does not have that player that can really take over down the stretch and lift the team.
The clash in the paint between Memphis’ Zach Randoplh and Marc Gasol and OKC’s Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins is playing out just as expected: physical and with neither duo conceding anything under the bucket. Ibaka though is really getting after it defensively and already has three blocks on the night.
Going into the half, Memphis looks like the better team, disallowing OKC from playing their game. That feat was questionable coming into this game, as Memphis’ winning streak has not come against top-tier NBA teams. But Memphis looks like a real factor on Wednesday night, and if the Thunder cannot adjust to the Grizzlies’ oppressive defensive effort, it’s going to be a long night in Oklahoma City.