The Oklahoma City Thunder is hoping to avoid a 3-1 hole in their first round series with the Memphis Grizzlies as Game Four tips-off Saturday night at FedEx Forum.
Memphis took a 2-1 series lead behind point guard Mike Conley Jr.’s 20 points, Zach Randolph’s double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, and 28 bench points from Beno Udrih and Tony Allen in Game Three’s 98-95 overtime victory.
The Grizzlies have now won six of their last seven postseason games against OKC, and could put themselves one game away from a third trip to the Western Conference semis in four years with a victory on Saturday.
The Thunder received 30 points each from stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Game Three, but as a team OKC shot 39.1 percent from the field and 17.9 percent from three and the bench provided a paltry nine points.
Durant especially struggled from deep, going 0-for-8 while committing a game-high five turnovers. Westbrook also went 9-for-26 from the floor.
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Center Serge Ibaka has fared well against Randolph and Grizzlies center Marc Gasol with 14.7 points, 8.3 rebounds and three blocks per game in the series, but OKC specifically needs reserve guard Reggie Jackson to find his offense.
The third-year guard filled in more than amicably with 13.1 points and 4.1 assists per game when Westbrook was injured for nearly half the regular season. Yet Jackson’s shooting barely 16 percent from the floor for five points and four rebounds against Memphis.
There have been cries that a team that was in the NBA Finals two short years ago is regressing, and some are questioning whether the Thunder are tuning out head coach Scott Brooks.
“Obviously, I think they listen to me,” Brooks said to NewsOK.com on Friday. “We’re like family. Family, you’re going to have some ups, you’re going to have some downs. But you have to stay together. We have a group that believes in one another, has been together for awhile. Hopefully we can rally around each other tomorrow night and get a win.”
Time: Saturday, 9:30 p.m. EST
TV Channel: ESPN
Online Stream Info: Watch ESPN here.
Betting Odds: Thunder -3
Over/Under: 189 points
Prediction: Thunder over Grizzlies 98-92