Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-Thunder matchup
MEMPHIS – The Grizzlies (29-44) continue a hectic stretch of four games in six nights on Monday when Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder (43-30) visit FedExForum.
Bear Necessities is a game-day spotlight on some Grizzlies notes of note to stay informed entering tonight's matchup.
Here are a few things to watch:
- The Grizzlies will try to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Thunder when the teams meet for the third and final time this season. OKC won the first two games at home, beating shorthanded Memphis 117-95 just after the Feb. 7 trade deadline, and followed with a 99-95 victory on March 3, when the Thunder were without Paul George and the Grizzlies were missing Mike Conley. The Grizzlies are coming off back-to-back losses on Friday in Orlando and Saturday at home to the Timberwolves. They wrap up the stretch with a fourth game in six nights on Wednesday at home against Golden State.
- The Grizzlies have been one of the worst rebounding teams in the league all season, but their performance has improved since the acquisition of Jonas Valanciunas at the trade deadline. Over his last three games, Valanciunas has averaged 25.3 points, 17.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.3 blocks in 34.3 minutes. Within the past week, Valanciunas has set his career high of 33 points on March 20 against the Rockets and notched a career-high 24 rebounds two nights later against the Magic. Since arriving from Toronto in the Feb. 7 trade, Valanciunas is averaging 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds in 15 games.
- Conley enters the week needing seven more points to eclipse former teammate Marc Gasol (11,684) as the Grizzlies’ all-time leading scorer. Conley, a 12-year veteran, already leads the franchise in career games played, assists, steals and three-pointers made. He also held the scoring mark through the start of last season before missing 70 games with a season-ending heel injury. Gasol passed Conley for the scoring lead last season but Conley, in the midst of the highest-scoring season of his career, is averaging 28.6 points in his last seven games, and his streak of seven consecutive games with at least 20 points ties the longest in franchise history.
- The Grizzlies will reach 30 wins with their next victory. Memphis has never in the franchise’s history finished with a win total in the 30s. The Grizzlies have nine games remaining, including four at home.
- The Grizzlies are listing Kyle Anderson (shoulder), Dillon Brooks (toe surgery), Jaren Jackson Jr. (thigh bruise), Avery Bradley (shin) and C.J. Miles (foot) as out. Joakim Noah (knee) is listed as doubtful and Conley (thigh) is questionable. The Thunder are listing Andre Roberson (knee) as out against the Grizzlies.
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes