Thunder fighting for final playoff spot

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be looking to distance themselves even more from their stunning 116-113 Friday night home loss to the New Orleans Pelicans when they face the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies this week just before the start of the NBA All-Star break.

According to Totally Tickets, Tickets are on sale on the secondary market at an average of $71 with a get-of $14 when Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook lead the Thunder into Denver to face the Nuggets Monday night and will be going at an average of $120 with a get-in of $13 when they welcome the Southwest Division leading Grizzlies to Oklahoma City two nights later.

The All-Star bound tandem of Durant and Westbrook have sparked the Thunder to eight wins in their last 12 games and at least back into the conversation of Western Conference playoff hopefuls. After Sunday’s 131-108 thrashing of the Clippers, OKC stands at 26-25, record-wise hardly gaudy enough to rank among the conference’s elite, yet a far cry from the 3-12 start they got off to while both Durant and Westbrook were sidelined by injuries.

Durant, the league’s reigning MVP, has averaged 26 points, six rebounds and five assists over his last 10 games, while Westbrook has been even better over that same span, registering 29 points, eight assists and seven rebounds per outing.

In Denver, the Thunder encounter a squad that has dropped five in a row and 11 of 12. Point-guard Ty Lawson leads the Nuggets, who have split a pair of earlier games this season with the Thunder, at 17 points and 10 assists.

Meanwhile, the rugged Grizzlies’ figure to provide OKC with the ultimate challenge just prior to the team embarking on an eight-day interlude.

Led by the front-court, tag team of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, Memphis (37-13) has won eight of its last nine and has already knocked off the Thunder twice this year by an average of nearly double digits.

The 7-1, 265 pound Gasol leads the way, averaging 16 points seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks over his last 10 games, while Randolph has chipped in with averages of 18 points, 13 rebounds and two assists. All season long, point-guard Mike Conley has proven himself to be more than a capable third wheel, averaging 17 points, five assists and three rebounds.


Against Durant and Westbrook, it figures to come down to a battle of wills, as the Thunder perennially rank among the league’s most potent offenses and the Grizzlies continue to boast one of the NBA’s stingiest defenses.