Bear Necessities: Key notes, numbers and trends entering Grizzlies-Thunder preseason matchup
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Grizzlies (2-1) hit the road looking to regroup from their first loss of the preseason when they visit Oklahoma City (2-1) on Wednesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Bear Necessities is a spotlight on key Grizzlies’ facts and trends, curated from Communication Manager Ross Wooden’s Game Notes packet, to stay informed entering tonight's matchup.
Here are a few things to watch:
- The Grizzlies open a two-game road trip to wrap up preseason play, with Wednesday’s stop in Oklahoma City followed by Friday’s visit to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Memphis won its first two preseason games against international teams Maccabi Haifa and New Zealand before falling at home Monday to the Charlotte Hornets. The Thunder are coming off Monday’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks after opening the preseason with wins over New Zealand and also beating the Mavericks in Tulsa.
- Shooting guard Grayson Allen enters Wednesday as the Grizzlies leading scorer through the first three preseason games. Allen, who was acquired from the Jazz as part of the June trade that sent Mike Conley to Utah, is averaging 14.7 points per game while shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. After coming off the bench in the first two exhibition games, Allen started Monday’s contest against the Hornets and finished with eight points and three rebounds in 24 minutes.
- After outscoring their opponent in each of the first six quarters of preseason action, the Grizzlies have since been outscored in four of the last six quarters they’ve played. First-year coach Taylor Jenkins said the team would look closely at film to address the defensive breakdowns, including Monday’s game when the Hornets shot 42.5 percent on threes and scored 26 points off 21 Memphis turnovers. The Grizzlies gave up 54 points in the paint Monday after allowing a combined 54 paint points in their first two preseason games.
- Rookie first-round pick Brandon Clarke has made the most of his starts in the preseason and is averaging 9.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. He ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounding, and is coming off his first double-double, with 16 points and 12 boards in Monday’s loss. Clarke was selected No. 21 overall in June’s draft by Oklahoma City before his rights were traded to Memphis. As a team, the Grizzlies lead the NBA in rebounding average at 54 per game and are fifth in rebounding percentage.
- The Grizzlies list center Jonas Valanciunas (foot) and guard De’Anthony Melton (back) as out for Wednesday’s game against OKC. Both players will miss all five preseason games, as Valanciunas rests a sore foot stemming from training camp and as Melton continues rehab from a back injury. Additionally, Grizzlies guards Ja Morant, Brandon Clarke and forward Jae Crowder will sit out tonight to rest. The Thunder rested veterans Chris Paul and Steven Adams in Monday’s loss and also sat out Andre Roberson (knee).
For the Grizzlies complete game notes, check here: Grizzlies Game Notes