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News » Thunder-Grizzlies Preview 2009-02-28


Thunder-Grizzlies Preview 2009-02-28


Thunder-Grizzlies Preview 2009-02-28
In a meeting between two of the worst teams in the Western Conference, about the only highlight in Saturday's contest between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies was expected to be Kevin Durant.

Now, he may not even play.

Durant is day-to-day after he sprained his right ankle in the first quarter when he came down on the foot of Mavericks forward Josh Howard after taking a jumper during the Thunder's 110-108 overtime loss to Dallas on Friday - their seventh straight loss. He finished with a season-low six points in less than eight minutes.

Durant is the NBA's fourth-leading scorer at 26.0 points per game. X-rays on his ankle came back negative, but he did not speak to reporters afterward and was on crutches, wearing a protective boot as he left the arena.

"I don't know how long he will be out," Oklahoma City interim coach Scott Brooks said.

Durant had scored 30 or more points in nine of Oklahoma City's previous 10 games. He has missed three games over his first two seasons in the NBA and the Thunder (13-45), who have the second-worst record in the West, are 1-2 without him.

"We obviously know Kevin is one of our better players," Brooks said. "But that's part of it. We can't worry about it. We have to fight through it and continue to get better."

The Thunder remained competitive without Durant, leading by 12 midway through the fourth quarter before overcoming a five-point deficit to force overtime. Russell Westbrook scored 33 points and Jeff Green added 28 as Oklahoma City dropped its eighth straight on the road.

The Thunder are 3-25 away from home, but one of those wins was a 111-103 victory at Memphis on Nov. 29 as Durant scored 30 points.

The Grizzlies (15-42) - losers of six straight - wouldn't be too upset if Durant did not play. He scored 35 in helping Oklahoma City to a 114-102 overtime victory in the most recent meeting on Jan. 28, and has averaged 31.0 points in three games against them this season.

Memphis has been idle since a 104-99 loss at Indiana on Wednesday. Marc Gasol had 22 points and 13 rebounds while rookie O.J. Mayo added 21 points as the Grizzlies rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to tie the game with less than three minutes to play before faltering late.

"I'm always disappointed when we don't come out and compete," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. "That's why I shook things up a bit to start the second half. Sometimes, it takes putting guys on the bench to see what the other guys are doing out there, how they're getting things done."

Rudy Gay, who is second on the team in scoring with 18.6 points, got into foul trouble Wednesday and played in less than 30 minutes for the first time since December. He had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer in the final seconds.

Gay has averaged 21.0 points against the Thunder this season.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

 

 
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