MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With the loss of power forward Zach Randolph, the Memphis Grizzlies no doubt are different. And yet, they're the same.
In other words, the physical Grizzlies will still scratch and claw for a win.
"Oh, yeah," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said with a smile.
Riding a three-game winning streak that came in a three-day span, OKC (8-2) faces a wounded Memphis (3-5) team at 7 p.m. on Tuesday inside FedExForum.
Randolph is expected to miss 6-8 weeks after tearing a ligament in his right knee during a 104-64 loss at Chicago on New Year's Day.
"That's life," Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said last week. "You have to go and play. He's not going to be here. We can't worry about what ifs and what we should do to get him back. This is where we are."
To fill the void previously created by the season-ending torn right Achilles tendon suffered by reserve forward Darrell Arthur, the Grizzlies obtained Marreese Speights from Philadelphia in a three-team deal that also had Memphis trade former Putnam City High School standout Xavier Henry to New Orleans.
Speights has career averages of 7.2 points and 3.7 rebounds in four seasons, but he erupted for 17 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals in Sunday night's 90-82 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers.
Speights (6-foot-10, 255 pounds), is similar in stature to Randolph (6-foot-9, 255), but Randolph arguably is the most efficient low-post scorer in the entire league.
"They're going to figure it out," Brooks said. "They've got some good players, but they're definitely a different team. He was a force and they have to make an adjustment without him, but coach Hollins is going to figure it out. They've still have some good players."
Thunder big men anticipate still having plenty of contact against Memphis.
"Everybody who plays for Memphis, they're just an immensely tough team," OKC starting center Kendrick Perkins said. "They're going to out-bang you, out-work you and that's how they find ways to win every night.
"He (Randolph) gives them that inside scoring presence. He brings another type of leadership and a physical toughness to that team, but they're still a great team. He just makes them that much better."
OKC survived last year's Western Conference semifinal against Memphis, winning 4-3 to advance to the conference finals against Dallas.
In Game 1 against the Thunder, Randolph had 34 points, 10 rebounds and three steals in the Grizzlies' methodical 114-101 victory inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.
"He's a load, for sure," said reserve power forward Nick Collison, whose physical presence while defending Randolph was a key ingredient in the Thunder advancing. "He draws a lot of attention. For guys who have to match up with him, it's a tough night."
Randolph has a tremendous supporting cast in forward Rudy Gay, center Marc Gasol, point guard Mike Conley, reserve guard O.J. Mayo and former Oklahoma State standout Tony Allen.
"They are still a very talented team," Collison said. "Last year they didn't have Rudy Gay and now they have him back. I'm sure they're going to still be tough and find different ways to play. They've still got Gasol inside, so they still have a nice balance.
"I assume it will be another tough game."
THUNDER AT GRIZZLIES
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday
Where: FedExForum in Memphis, Tenn.
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722)
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM
Three things to know
* To replace injured Zach Randolph (knee), Memphis acquired 6-foot-10, 255-pound Marreese Speights via Philadelphia in a three-team trade on Jan. 4.
* This will be the Thunder's final regular-season game at FedExForum. OKC won 98-95 here two weeks ago on some clutch shooting from Kevin Durant.
* Mike Conley left with an ankle injury 24 seconds into the previous game against the Thunder. Backup Jeremy Pargo had 15 points, 7 assists and 2 steals.
Pos. - Player - Ht. - Pts. - Reb. - Ast.
G - Russell Westbrook - 6-3 - 17.3 - 4.7 - 5.3
G - Thabo Sefolosha - 6-7 - 4.8 - 2.1 - 0.8
F - Kevin Durant - 6-9 - 25.7 - 6.5 - 3.5
F - Serge Ibaka - 6-10 - 7.5 - 6.1 - 2.2-x
C - Kendrick Perkins - 6-10 - 5.7 - 5.7 - 1.0
Pos. - Player - Ht. - Pts. - Reb. - Ast.
G - Mike Conley - 6-1 - 9.8 - 2.3 - 6.0
G - Tony Allen - 6-4 - 9.1 - 3.5 - 1.9-y
F - Rudy Gay - 6-8 - 16.4 - 7.5 - 1.8
F - Dante Cunningham - 6-8 - 4.3 - 3.5 - 0.4
C - Marc Gasol - 7-1 - 12.5 - 10.4 - 2.4