Grizzlies vs. Thunder preview
Mike Conley has turned in a sizzling three-game stretch for the Memphis Grizzlies.
Kevin Durant has also racked up the points in that span for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are still struggling on the offensive end.
Conley and the Grizzlies seek a third straight victory Tuesday night when they try to hand the Thunder a third straight road defeat.
The Memphis point guard is averaging 27.3 points on 52.6 percent shooting over his last three games. He had 21 points, 13 assists and four steals in Sunday's 108-101 victory over Atlanta.
"He's really taken responsibility not just for running the team but for being the leader of the team and defining whether we are successful or not," coach Dave Joerger said.
Conley's impact is evident since his 89.4 touches per game rank fifth in the league entering play Monday. He had eight points and six assists in the fourth quarter against the Hawks.
"We weren't getting to the rim," Conley said. "We got just a little bit too lax at that stage of the game. We (the starters) just wanted to come in and act on that." Durant leads the league with a 29.6 scoring average and is averaging 37.0 points over his last three games, although he is shooting 41.4 percent in that span.
The Thunder (28-9) shot 37.4 percent over consecutive road defeats before improving slightly at 40.7 percent in Saturday's 101-85 home win over league-worst Milwaukee, as they overcame 18 turnovers.
"We gotta play better offensive basketball," coach Scott Brooks said. "We can miss shots, that's one thing but we have to give ourselves a chance to make shots."
Durant had 33 points and 10 rebounds and fell three assists shy of his second triple-double of the season.
The last time these teams met Dec. 11, Oklahoma City won 116-100 on the road behind Russell Westbrook's 27 points, nine assists and six rebounds. Conley had 20 points and nine assists.
With Westbrook injured, Conley figures to have a similar advantage to the one he had in last year's playoffs when he averaged 18.0 points and 6.8 assists as Memphis (17-19) cnd your channel)
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Mike Conley has turned in a sizzling three-game stretch for the Memphis Gaptured a Western Conference semifinal series in five games. Westbrook was out with a knee injury then.
Reggie Jackson has guided the Thunder to a 5-4 mark since Westbrook went down Dec. 25 with another knee injury. Jackson is Oklahoma City's second-leading scorer in that stretch with 13.2 points per game but he's shooting 40.4 percent and had two points on 1-of-8 shooting against the Bucks. He had 17 points in the first meeting with Memphis.
Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph has posted consecutive double-doubles. Thunder rookie center Steven Adams revealed his strategy to try to neutralize the big man.
"It's mainly to hit first and mostly just trying to stay low and not foul because he's really good at trying to make you get fouls and all that sort of stuff so that's going to be my game plan against him," Adams said.
Grizzlies guard Tony Allen could miss a fifth straight game with a sprained left wrist.
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