FINAL SCORE: Thunder 93, Grizzlies 91
Boy, this should be a really good series; maybe the best out of the second round match-ups. Anyway, it was close for the whole game, with the Grizzlies leading the way for most of it. The last minute of play was decided by two costly turnovers by the Grizzlies. It was actually a span of 19 seconds.
One of the key reasons why I feel like the Grizzlies will win in six games is their defense. The Thunder’s offense hasn’t been all that complex as it relied mainly on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. With Westbrook out, Durant has to carry an unknown cast. As we saw during the game, Kevin Martin stepped up his game. Tony Allen had trouble running those screens and chasing Martin. Derek Fisher made waves as well, as he’s been doing all playoffs. It was enough to lift the Thunder over the Grizzlies for now but can Martin, Fisher, and other role players (Reggie Jackson comes to mind), keep it up? Grizzlies’ defense looked uncharacteristically poor and they only barely lost. Durant was insane out there. And again, turnovers are what did the Grizzlies in in the end.
Game two should see adjustments more from the Grizzlies. I think using Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph more will help although Ibaka did a great job defensively. To be honest, it’s not like the Grizzlies are going to dominate the Thunder. Each team has advantages in different areas. And that’s what good playoff basketball is all about. I do see the Grizzlies tying things up in game 3.
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