Grizzlies Vs Thunder Preview: I Hear Thunder But There’s No Rain


Feb 3, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph(50) drives to the basket against Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams(12) during the second quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

I Hear Thunder But There’s No Rain:

The Memphis Grizzlies will face the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow in a playoff rematch. A formidable adversary. But the fanfare, the hype and tension has taken a sharp exit out of Chesapeake Energy Arena. There will be no Kevin Durant tomorrow. No Russell Westbrook. Nothing to prove, and everything to lose.

It was only last year, the Grizzlies were positioned to make it to the second round. A turn of fate breached the prophecy. On the brink of success, now they find themselves one year older. Father time waits for no one. The pressure is on. Now or never.

Thus, the Grizzlies have quietly delivered. It’s been smooth sailing ahead to the tune of five straight wins. There will be thunder tomorrow night, but there’s no rain. No presence for OKC. No savior at the wheel to guide them out of an inevitable storm. Captain Zach Randolph and first mate Marc Gasol are showing the NBA just what it means to have a dominant front line.

Captain Zbo is averaging 16.8 points, 11 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.6 steals over the last five games. Gasol is averaging 21.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.6 steals in dominant fashion.

Ship In A Bottle:

The Grizzlies are a ship in a bottle. The slightest wrong nudge can wreck all the hard earned work in an instant. A relationship. One between fans, players and general managers. A wrong move can alter decades of history. Even one seeming minor or trivial at the time. Blocks of the past, laid to waste.

Imagine, as a GM carefully spending hours putting the ship together with tweezers. Barely getting the sails up, only to watch the whole thing topple over. Better yet, you as a fan. Years spent invested in your relationship with the team. One unlikely second occurs, and just like that your team pride wilted and fanhood is revoked. A delicate situation.

This minor moment above was the end of last season’s playoff hopes. The physical altercation with Steven Adams irrevocably changed the course of the playoffs. It came quite close to altering the team’s makeup itself. Just one moment.

Shallow Waters = Shallow Win.. But Demoralizing Loss:

The Grizzlies are riding high on a 5 game win streak. A win tomorrow is expected. Especially with emotions running rampant after the conclusion of last season. Yes, the Grizzlies are sailing in shallow waters. There will be no Durant or Westbrook to gameplan for. But a loss will be incredibly demoralizing. This is the team that ended their playoff hopes last season.

Defeat at their hands, sans team captains.. It would weigh heavy in the Grizzlies collective hearts. This is a must win game for pride, worth more than any streak. The Grizzlies should go out there and vow to blowout the Thunder, send a message. A 20 point defect is effective communication. No media interviews needed.

The Cast

Mike Conley will not have Westbrook to worry about on defense tomorrow. Conley is coming off a 24 point, 11 assists night against the Phoenix Suns. Off an ankle injury suffered on Monday, no less.

Courtney Lee is back from a concussion suffered last Friday. He returned Wednesday night against the Suns scoring 22 points and played 39 minutes. Lee is thriving in his role at the moment.

Memphis Grizzlies Current Record: