Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview (12/17/22): Prediction, Starting Lineups, Odds

After obliterating Milwaukee 142-101, the scorching hot Memphis Grizzlies (19-9) face the pesky Oklahoma City Thunder (11-18). Desmond Bane and Danny Green remain out for the Grizzlies, but they are otherwise at full strength. On the other hand, the Thunder are dealing with a slew of injuries. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, and Kenrich Williams enter the contest as questionable, while Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Darius Bazley, and Ousmane Dieng will be unable to suit up.

Can the Thunder avenge their 123-102 loss to Memphis on December 7th? Odds, predictions, starting lineups, and key matchups are below.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Odds

The line was initially released at -6.5 Grizzlies, but it has spiked to -9.5 Grizzlies due to the public backing Memphis and Oklahoma City’s injuries. The Thunder’s moneyline can be found at a large +410, which means they must win this game only 20% of the time to be profitable long-term. Finally, the 231 over under is the largest line for games today.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction

I’m thrilled I grabbed Memphis to cover -6.5, but I would still take the current -9.5 line and play this up to -10.5.

Dort and Jalen form a menacing defensive duo that can neutralize pick and roll ball handlers and isolation offense. Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey can hold their own on defense too; however, Oklahoma City’s interior defense has a Chet-sized hole that routinely causes opposing offenses to score. Pokusevski’s help defense is radically improving, but he will struggle to contain Adams when the Grizzlies center either rolls to the basket or seals Pokusevski for a hook shot.

Should Morant pierce the perimeter defense, he will find open driving lanes to the basket or he can dump it to Adams for an easy two points or spot up shooters. The Thunder allow plenty of open three-pointers because they must shade inside to stop opposing big men and slashing guards. In addition, Jackson Jr has an immense size advantage on offense with Jalen Williams starting at power forward. Factor in Brooks and Konchar’s shooting, and the Grizzlies project to continue their excellent offense.

On the other end, Memphis’ defense is arguably the best in the NBA. Jackson Jr and Adams are killing any possible interior action – even against Giannis Antetokounmpo. Jackson Jr is also roaming the court like a safety and closing any possible passing lanes with his 7’4” wingspan. Given that Gilgeous-Alexander’s offense is predicated on driving to the basket and converting a layup or accumulating free throws, it’s a gloomy outlook for Oklahoma City’s offense.

Memphis can also throw Dillon Brooks’ ferocious on-ball defense to stunt any scoring spurts from Shai because he has the size and instincts to stick with his drive and not fall for the free throw bait. And outside of Gilgeous-Alexander, it’s difficult to rely on consistent offense from the other starters. Dort’s shooting is a rollercoaster, and Oklahoma City lacks ball handlers who can create their own offense off the dribble. Overall, the Grizzlies are a formidable defensive matchup for the Thunder. If Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey cannot play too, then that only further cements the Grizzlies as heavily favored to cover.

Betting Trends

  • Grizzlies are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall
  • Thunder are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall
  • Thunder are 17-12 ATS this season (5th best cover percentage)
  • Grizzlies are 10-3 ATS in the last 13 meetings

Key Matchups

Which team will win the key matchups? Check out below for these vital battles.

Memphis Defensive Discipline

Gilgeous-Alexander is 4th in the NBA at 10 FTA per game, and he leads the league at a sparkling 93 FT%. Therefore, on possessions that end up with two free throw attempts, he produces 1.86 points per possession – the equivalent of a 62 3PT% player. If the Grizzlies can stay vertical and simply force Shai to shoot over their length, then they have an excellent chance of shutting down Oklahoma City’s offense. However, if they get into foul trouble and allow Shai to live at the line, then Memphis’ cover percentage dramatically decreases.

Luguentz Dort Efficiency

Dort’s defense is absolutely lethal, but his shooting efficiency lacks any semblance of consistency. He will go 1/7 from three one night and 3/4 the next. Dort’s shot selection is also puzzling, as he attempts jumpers that only the Kevin Durant’s of the world should try. As a result, Dort is a complete wild card on offense. The Thunder desperately require Dort to thrive from deep here because the paint will be clogged. If he delivers, then Shai won’t have as much pressure to create and score every possession.

Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup

PG: Ja Morant
SG: John Konchar
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr
C: Steven Adams

Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup

PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Luguentz Dort
SF: Josh Giddey
PF: Jalen Williams
C: Aleksej Pokusevski

Key Injuries

Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: Desmond Bane (O), Danny Green (O)

Oklahoma City Thunder Injuries: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Q), Josh Giddey (Q), Kenrich Williams (Q), Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (O), Darius Bazley (O), Ousmane Dieng (O), Chet Holmgren (O)

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

Hot NBA Matchup Previews Stories