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News » Thunder-Grizzlies Preview

Thunder-Grizzlies Preview

Thunder-Grizzlies Preview
It's been just one month since the Oklahoma City Thunder made their debut in their new city, but it's hard to argue it's already been a long and frustrating transition. The outcome of their last game didn't make it any easier.

After matching a franchise-record losing streak with a heartbreaking last-second defeat, the Thunder hope to bounce back and snap the skid as they visit the struggling Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night.

The Oklahoma City franchise went 20-62 in its final season in Seattle in 2007-08, the worst finish in the team's 41-year history. A new city, new name and new uniforms haven't made much of a difference.

The Thunder (1-16) have lost a franchise record-tying 14 straight games since an 88-85 win over Minnesota on Nov. 2, matching the record set in December and January of last season.

The current skid looked like it could be coming to an end Friday night, as Oklahoma City battled back from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit to take a one-point lead over Minnesota with 15 seconds left. The Thunder, though, gave up a game-winning baseline jumper to Mike Miller with 0.1 seconds left to fall 105-103.

"It's definitely frustrating when you lose at the buzzer. It doesn't matter if you're not on a win streak," said reigning Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant, who had 22 points. "Any team would hate to lose like this."

Even a new coach hasn't been able to turn around the team. Friday's loss dropped Scott Brooks to 0-4 since replacing the fired P.J. Carlesimo last week.

"All we can ask is for our guys to work hard every night and compete," said Brooks, in his first NBA head coaching gig. "The wins will come."

Durant didn't sound quite as optimistic, but vowed not to linger on Friday night's game too long. He says he learned his lesson after the Thunder suffered a close loss to Phoenix on Tuesday, and followed that game by getting blown out 117-82 by Cleveland on Wednesday.

"This is a game we had to win tonight. We had it," he said. "But the one thing we can't do is like we did in Cleveland. After a tough loss, we dwelled on it too much. We came out and I think that kind of messed with us a little bit."

Durant and the Thunder will try again to get their second win - and first on the road - by taking advantage of the Grizzlies, who have dropped five straight games and nine of 10.

Memphis (4-12) shot a season-high 54.5 percent from the field Friday night, and trailed San Antonio by only three with seven minutes left before falling 109-98.

It was the Spurs' first game with all three of their top three players, and newly healthy Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker came off the bench to help San Antonio's reserves outscore Memphis' 64-4.

That discrepancy overshadowed strong outings from Memphis starters O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay. Mayo, the third overall pick in June's draft, had 32 points and went 13-for-20 from the field, while Gay had 26 on 11-for-17 shooting.

Gay averaged 20.0 points and 8.0 rebounds but shot just 38.9 percent from the field in three games against Oklahoma City last season. Memphis won three of four in the series.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 29, 2008


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