The Oklahoma City Thunder rank second in the Western Conference with the second best record in the entire NBA. The Memphis Grizzlies rank fourth in the West with the sixth best record in basketball. After the Thunder beat the Grizzlies 106-89 on Jan. 31, it is clear they are two teams headed in opposite directions.
Memphis just traded one of their main stars, Rudy Gay, to the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 30. In the three-way trade that also included the Detroit Pistons, Memphis received Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye.
In their first game since the trade, it was newcomer Jerryd Bayless who led Memphis in scoring with 23 points. The Grizzlies have always been a team that has thrived thanks to their chemistry. With one of their stars shipped off, the other stars struggled. Tony Allen finished with eight points, Zach Randolph scored nine and Marc Gasol finished with 16. Randolph did add 19 rebounds on the night.
Meanwhile, it was business as usual for the Thunder. Kevin Durant scored 27 points, Russell Westbrook finished with 21 and sixth man Kevin Martin scored 16. While Oklahoma City did ship off James Harden at the start of the season, Martin has fit in well as a replacement.
Memphis should hope they get as lucky, but with talks now centering on shipping off Randolph too, it seems like Memphis' days of contending in the West is coming to an end.