The Oklahoma City Thunder took care of business early, often and late against the Memphis Grizzlies a couple days ago in Game 1. However, if they’re going to take a series-commanding 2-0 lead tonight, they’re going to have to play better basketball from wire-to-wire — specifically, they need to play a better third quarter.
In the playoffs, you can’t take quarters off, no matter how good you are. Luckily, the Thunder had built a big enough lead in the first and second quarters, that being outscored 31-13 in the third quarter didn’t doom them. They also rebounded greatly in the fourth quarter by outscoring the Grizzlies by 10. Nevertheless, the Thunder played with fire and didn’t get burned.
Though, who’s to say that they won’t get burned next time? In any case, here are some questions heading into tonight’s (Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder) huge Game 2.
WAS THE THIRD QUARTER A FLUKE OR FORESHADOWING?
The Grizzlies bounced back after a troubling first 24 minutes of basketball with a 31-13 third quarter. However, once they cut the Thunder down to two, it felt as if Memphis had already spent all its energy coming back that it had none left to finish the game. It happens. Though, what if the Grizzlies had played a little closer to the Thunder in the first half, would the game have ended differently? Perhaps. If Memphis wants to steal Game 2, they’re going to need a near flawless first half.
WHO GETS THE HOT START?
In Game 1 it was OKC. If that happens in Game 2, we could be looking at another mirror game to the opener. It’s no secret that the Grizzlies play better when they have the lead and/or can control pace. The Grizzlies fell behind 14-2 in the first game before they even had a chance to blink. That can’t happen in Game 2. If Memphis can snag the hot start, they’ll be in great position to control the game and perhaps steal homecourt advantage. However, if they don’t, this series may be near its end.
IS TAYSHAUN PRINCE HEALTHY?
Prince sat out Game 1’s second half with an illness. However, word is that he’s expected to be back in the starting lineup tonight. He’s probably the best option that Memphis has defensively for Kevin Durant. His health will have a definite correlation on how well (and long) the Grizzlies can stick around in this series. If Prince is on the floor, there’s no question that it give Memphis a better chance. If he’s not, well, we saw what Durant did in Game 1 — 33 points on 13 of 25 shooting.