The Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t putting much stock in their last game, a blowout loss to the league’s best team.
The Memphis Grizzlies view their last game, an easy win over the defending champs, as something attainable each time out.
The Thunder try to regroup from their most lopsided loss of the season Tuesday night when they visit a Grizzlies team hoping to build on an impressive victory.
Oklahoma City’s starters should be well-rested after sitting out all of the fourth quarter in Saturday’s 101-74 loss to San Antonio. The outcome was in little doubt early, as the Thunder (23-12) missed 20 of their first 24 shots and went on to set season lows for scoring and field-goal percentage (32.9 percent).
“They handed it to us pretty fair and square,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.
Kevin Durant(notes), the NBA’s leading scorer at 27.9 points, matched his season low with 16 points after averaging 33.0 points in his final four games of 2010. He isn’t too concerned about the lackluster effort, however, and doesn’t believe the team will dwell on it.
“We just got to move on from this,” Durant said. “It was a tough one for us, but the name of the game is that it’s a long season. We got to just move on and push forward.”
The Grizzlies (15-19) are taking a different approach moving forward.
Memphis is brimming with confidence after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers 104-85 on Sunday, its third victory in eight games.
It was a surprisingly solid effort for the Grizzlies considering two of their last three losses came against nine-win New Jersey and seven-win Sacramento
“We feel like we can play with anybody, and we should have a better record than we have,” said point guard Mike Conley(notes), who had 12 points and six assists. “We’ve laid eggs here and there, but we’re working hard to become a more consistent team.”
Improving their defense might help the Grizzlies with their consistency.
By holding the Lakers to more than 18 points below their scoring average, Memphis moved to 14-5 when limiting opponents to fewer than 100 points. The Grizzlies are 1-14 when allowing teams to hit triple figures.
Oklahoma City, which averages 103.0 points, is 18-3 when reaching the century mark but 5-9 when it doesn’t.
The Thunder took two of three from the Grizzlies last season, averaging 108.0 points in the victories, but scoring 84 in the loss. Durant had at least 30 points in each of those games.
These teams meet again Saturday in Oklahoma City.