Posted by Royce Young
One Big Thing: Forget the teams and actual players, how do us spectators bounce back from Game 4? The game lasted somewhere around four hours in real time, 63 minutes in game time and saw players in each starting five play 55 or more minutes. It was a complete drain, and with only a day off in between, the question is all about energy. Who's got it?
And this is the pivotal game in the series. With it tied 2-2, the winner here is in complete position to take the series. The game is more important for the Thunder because they've won back homecourt advantage and, with a loss, would go back to Memphis facing elimination in a Game 6. The Grizzlies can survive a loss and play to get to a Game 7. The Thunder have to have this one.
The X-Factor: The Thunderdome. In a game where both teams are likely to be battling some fatigue, the fact the game is in Oklahoma City is a huge lift for the Thunder. Just that extra little jolt from their raucous home crowd might be the difference in fading in the second half and driving hard to the finish line.
The Grizzlies have proven they can win in OKC already, though, so they aren't out of it by any means. But up against some tired legs and heavy eyes, the Thunder's sea of blue may be the pick-me-up OKC needs.
The Adjustment: For as much criticism as there has been around Russell Westbrook, the reality is that Memphis has no one to guard him. They have two defenders to throw at Kevin Durant, but between Mike Conley, O.J. Mayo and Greivis Vasquez, the Grizzlies don't have an ideal defender there.
Where they succeed is packing the paint and sealing off Westbrook's drive, forcing him to shoot jumpshots. He's not bad from midrange, but not nearly as good as he is finishing in the paint.
The Sticking Point: I'm hung on wondering who has the momentum here. Of course it seems like the Thunder should because they were the victors of the triple-overtime game, but the Grizzlies have to feel pretty good about hanging in that game that long. After Conley and Mayo fouled out, they seemed doomed. But they made it through two more overtimes before finally running out of gas.
The Thunder had to have one of the two games in Memphis and got it. Now they have to have this one at home. The Grizzlies are the ones playing with not a lot to lose here. The pressure is on the Thunder. Can they execute just enough again to finally take charge of this series? I have a feeling we might be in for another classic here.
Playoff Fix: Who has something left?
Posted on: May 11, 2011 12:41 am
Edited on: May 11, 2011 2:30 pm
Tags: 2011 NBA Playoffs, 2011 second-round playoffs, 2011 WC Conference Semifinals, 2011 WC Playoffs, Chris Wallace, Clay Bennett, Conference Semifinals, Darrell Arthur, Eric Maynor, Greivis Vasquez, Hamed Haddadi, James Harden, Kendrick Perkins, Kevin Durant, Lionel Hollins, Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies, Michael Heisley, Mike Conley, NBA Playoffs, Nick Collison, O.J. Mayo, Oklahoma City Thunder, Russell Westbrook, Sam Presti, Sam Young, Scott Brooks, second-round playoffs, Serge Ibaka, Shane Battier, Thabo Sefolosha, Tony Allen, WC Playoffs, Zach Randolph