THUNDER AT GRIZZLIES, 9:30 P.M. ET

TV: TNT

  • The Grizzlies had three players named to the NBA All-Defensive teams on Monday. Tony Allen was named the all-defensive first team. Allen, who has been named to the first or secondteam in all three seasons he has been with the Grizzlies, led all NBA Players with 53 points in the voting.  This year’s NBA Defensive Player of the Year, center Marc Gasol, was named to the second team, along with guard Mike Conley, who led the league it total steals with a franchise-record 174 this season. Both were named for the first time. The Grizzlies are the first team to have three players selected since the 2005-06 Detroit Pistons. The Grizzlies held opponents to a league-low 89.3 points this season.
  • It’s no secret that Oklahoma City has simply struggled to make shots in this series against Memphis. So much so that coach Scott Brooks is tired of talking about it. He’s just ready for his team to go out and continue doing what they’ve done all season. “We’re not talking about it anymore. That’s it,” Brooks said. “We’re going to make the shots. We’re going to take shots, we’re going to step up there with confidence. Our guys have been doing it all their lives. That’s what they do everyday, the wake up and take shots. We feel if we get the same shots, we’re going to make them. We feel confident that the work they’ve put in will pay off.”
  • Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has seen his minutes drop dramatically in the first three games against the Grizzlies. After playing 34 minutes in OKC’s win in Game 1, Perkins played 24 minutes in Game 2 and just 16 in Saturday’s Game 3. Perkins has scored a total of just eight points in the series. Brooks said he expects his center’s minutes to go up tonight. “I anticipate him playing more minutes tonight,” Brooks said. “The way the game has gone, we were needing some scoring. Kevin (Durant) at the four has always been a scoring option for us. I think he’s helped us all year. We’re not going to just totally desert what he does for our team. He does a lot of good.”
  • The Thunder had good focus at today’s shootaround leaving them confident they can duplicate what they did in their conference semifinal matchup with the Grizzlies two years ago. OKC was faced with a similar situation, trailing 2-1 going into Game 4 at Memphis. The Thunder managed to win that game in a classic triple-overtime affair before going onto win the series in seven games. “It’s no fun being down in a series,” Brooks said. “We have a great opportunity to win tonight’s game and then it becomes a three-game series. That’s our focus.”

– By Marlon W. Morgan

 

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