Oklahoma City Thunder Stat Monkey Brief: Thunder/Grizzlies (1/31/13)

Rudy Gay's shipped up to Canada, and the Thunder are breathing a sigh of relief.

After a tough six game road trip in which the Thunder went 3-3, the team finally gets to play a game in front of its home crowd for the first time in more than two weeks. The return to Oklahoma City comes just in time to host the new-look Grizzlies.

Face your fears… or hope they get sent to Canada

Right after the big trade yesterday, Kendrick Perkins called it a bad trade on Twitter because “Rudy Gay is right there under KD, LeBron, Kobe, and Melo.” Looking at Gay’s performances versus the Thunder, one can excuse Perkins' belief slightly. Oklahoma City is one of five teams that Gay has averaged 20 or more points per game against over the course of his six-and-a-half year career. His career average of 6.7 rebounds per game against the Thunder is the topped only by the 6.8 he snares on average against Golden State.

Going back to the first meeting between these two squads on November 14, a game that Memphis won on the road by 10, Gay led the Grizzlies in scoring with 28 points and threw in six rebounds and five assists.

Learning on the Fly

It will be up to Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to lead the charge for Memphis tonight without Gay. They can both score as part of one of the most fearsome frontcourts in the country, averaging 15.8 and 13.7 points per game, particularly with Mike Conley questionable with an ankle injury. Ed Davis will be a great addition to the frontcourt whenever he gets on the court with 9.7 points per game and an effective field goal percentage of .549.

The Grizzlies are going to have to learn how the new pieces fit together, but tonight’s game is even weirder due the fact that the trade happened only a day earlier and Memphis’ starting point guard is also questionable.

The Thunder will face a Grizzlies’ team that lost its best scorer. It is a tricky situation for Memphis to find itself in tonight. Whatever happens, this game has intrigue written all over it.