Jan 31, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Memphis Grizzlies guard Jerryd Bayless (7) handles the ball against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the second half at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

OKC Thunder (50-18) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (45-21) Preview

The Oklahoma City Thunder will deal with a tough back-to-back tonight on the road vs. the Memphis Grizzlies after losing last night at home to the Denver Nuggets.

The Thunder did not get the job done defensively last night and other than Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, weren’t very good offensively either.

It’s only going to get more difficult for the offense tonight vs. Memphis as the Grizzlies are second in the NBA in defensive efficiency.

The Thunder have played the Grizzlies twice already this season. Both games were at home and the Thunder lost the first time 107-97 back on Nov. 14 then they beat Memphis 106-89 Jan. 31, which was the first game for Memphis after trading Rudy Gay.

The key for the Thunder will be getting someone other than Durant or Westbrook to step up. Last night, Serge Ibaka scored only six points and Kevin Martin had 14 with 12 coming in the first half.

On the road, the Thunder will need to knock down some outside shots to stay with Memphis. The Thunder traditionally are a worse shooting team on the road and last night they were very bad as well going 4-for-25 on threes.

The Thunder will get to play more traditional lineups tonight as the Grizzlies go big most of the time. Scott Brooks prefers playing Kendrick Perkins big minutes so don’t expect as many small lineups from the Thunder tonight.

Brooks has been going with the more defensive-minded Thabo Sefolosha to close out games over Martin so we will see if Brooks does this again tonight if the Thunder are struggling to score.

The Thunder have a very difficult task tonight playing in a back-to-back on the road but the Thunder have been one of the most resilient teams in the NBA this season, rarely losing multiple games in a row.

The game will tip at 8 p.m. EST.

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Tags: Memphis Grizzlies Oklahoma City Thunder

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