May 15, 2013, 2:27 PM EDT
After Memphis took care of business at home with two close victories over the Thunder, the Grizzlies lead the best-of-seven series three games to one as it shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 5 on Wednesday.
Every game in the series has been close in the closing minutes, so we should expect nothing less in one that has the potential to see the Thunder eliminated from the postseason.
The Grizzlies will need to bring the energy from the very start, or things could get out of hand quickly. Oklahoma City got out to a first half lead of 17 points in Game 4, and if that happens in this one Memphis will have trouble battling back on the road, when the Thunder will be playing to keep their season alive.
While the Thunder have needed to get contributions on both ends of the floor from a variety of players to keep each game in the series close, it’s always been about the play of Kevin Durant, and just how far he’s able to carry his team.
Durant was spectacular in the first two games at home, scoring 35 and 36 points, respectively. His numbers dipped to 25 and 27 in the two games in Memphis, although the bigger problem was the lower overall shooting percentage, along with the fact that the Grizzlies were able to shut him down when each of those games were on the line.
In Game 3, nobody on the Thunder could seem to hit a shot — the team managed just 36.4 percent shooting for the game, Durant was held to just 9-of-19. In Game 4, he was just 2-of-8 from the field in the fourth quarter, and 0-for-5 in the overtime session.
Durant will need to return to having a huge statistical impact on the game for his team to avoid being sent home for the summer.
On the Grizzlies’ side, they’ll need a strong overall defensive performance to limit the Thunder’s second and third options from getting going, and they’ll need a high-assist, low-turnover performance from Mike Conley, along with some dominant team rebounding in order to get the job done.
Memphis has shown it has enough to win this game on the road, and it should seize the opportunity — even while knowing that they would have another crack at it back home should things not go their way in OKC.
Apr 22, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT
Raptors win Game 2, but it feels like this series is Brooklyn’s to lose.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:38 PM EDT
Pacers go on a monster third quarter run to even series with Hawks.
Apr 22, 2014, 9:09 PM EDT
Interim GM for the Cavaliers intends to remain aggressive in upgrading talent, but there are other issues that need to be addressed first.
Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ complaints about officiating: ‘In the playoffs you’re not going to get calls’
Apr 22, 2014, 7:28 PM EDT
The officials are not the reason the Raptors lost Game 1.
Apr 22, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT
He wants to be recruited.
Apr 22, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT
You don’t bash their pizza in Chicago.
Apr 22, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT
Building on the water was always a long shot, now they found a place they can get a deal done.
Apr 22, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT
Calderon’s defensive limitations are an issue, but Nowitzki says, “We’re rolling the way we’re set up.”
Apr 22, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT
Most teams have the Kentucky power forward 3-5 on their draft boards.
Apr 22, 2014, 2:11 PM EDT
Don’t worry, Craig
Apr 22, 2014, 1:31 PM EDT
Forward a potential first-round pick
Apr 22, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT
Defensive Player of the year certainly helps, though
Apr 22, 2014, 12:25 PM EDT
Would the stable and consistent Jazz roll the dice on European legend Ettore Messina? A bigger name like Lionel Hollins?
Apr 22, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins also receive votes
Apr 22, 2014, 11:01 AM EDT
The best coach in basketball finally won the award.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:09 AM EDT
Apr 22, 2014, 9:39 AM EDT
Phil Jackson reportedly likes Fred Hoiberg, Kevin Ollie
Apr 22, 2014, 8:44 AM EDT
This one is worth watching one more time.
Apr 22, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Bulls, Pacers, Raptors don’t want to drop both home games to start playoffs.
Apr 22, 2014, 2:40 AM EDT
Mike Conley and Beno Udrih were huge… that Blake Griffin guy isn’t bad, either.