Blog Entry

Playoff Fix: Thunder look to keep the party going

Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:25 am
Edited on: May 13, 2011 12:49 am
 
The Oklahoma City Thunder look to eliminate the Memphis Grizzlies from the Western Conference semifinals. Posted by Ben Golliver.

thunder-celebration

One Big Thing: Short term memory loss. That's the key for Game 6, after the Oklahoma City Thunder wiped the court with the Memphis Grizzlies, running up the score and celebrating to their heart's desire in a 99-72 blowout win in Game 5. If the Grizzlies can't move past the debacle, the young and hungry Thunder will gladly send them packing for the summer. Kevin Durant, in particular, will be looking to repeat his close-out heroics from the first round, when he dropped in 41 points -- including 16 in the fourth quarter -- to eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Similarly, the Thunder need to put their Game 5 win out of sight and out of mind. Closing out the Nuggets at home was one thing; closing out the Grizzlies, in front of a rejuvenated FedEx Forum, is an entirely different challenge.

The X-Factor: I've been waiting and waiting for Mike Conley Jr. to collapse under the weight of the playoffs and it finally happened in Games 4 and 5. In Game 4, he shot 2-12, but was able to compensate by getting to the free throw line 12 times. In Game 5, there were no free throw attempts, nor any sort of compensation for his awful shooting. He went 4-16 from the field and committed three turnovers to finish -22 on the night. Just brutal. While he's played above his head in the playoffs against some elite competition, those performances in pivotal swing games can be a killer for the confidence. Can he pull it together or has the damage been done?

The Adjustment: Memphis's shot distribution was out of wack in Game 5. You don't want to read too deeply into the numbers when a game is out of hand that early, but consider that starting guards Conley and Tony Allen jacked up 29 combined shots while Zach Randolph had just nine attempts. That was the first time since March 7 that Randolph has played 32 minutes and not had at least 10 field goal attempts. It was also the first time since February 7 that he failed to score in double figures. While Nick Collison has done a superb job on Randolph in this series, the Grizzlies, with their total lack of three-point shooting ability, need to get back to pounding Randolph. It's better to go down doing what you do well. Randolph, for his part, needs to rise to the moment and bounce back like he did in Games 3 and 4 after similar struggles in Game 2. It's now or never for one of this year's best playoff performers.

The Sticking Point: The biggest factor that could hold Memphis back from extending this series could very well be playing time. Thunder stars Durant and Russell Westbrook played just 31 and 25 minutes respectively in Game 5, the perfect follow-up to the Game 4 triple-overtime marathon which saw both players log more than 50 minutes. At times in this series, Durant's ability to get open and Westbrook's decision-making have taken a hit late in games. They should be nice and fresh for crunch time on Friday night.
Comments

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 13, 2011 7:29 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder look to keep the party going

Why does CBS pay these clown journalists? Conley didnt collapse under the weight of anything. He had one bad game. ONE.  Westbrook actually has been mostly outplayed. Conley has averaged like two turnovers per game. Westbrook two a quarter. ITs something OKC better attend to. Conley has played great permiter defense, also. The biggest change has been Collinson on Randolph. Amazing this has to be explained to this writer. Anyway, look for memphis to win at home and force game 7.  OKC actually hasnt been on fire, and isnt shooting that great. They have more talent....but Perkins hasnt played that well, and maybe we see why Boston traded him. Gasol has to really assert himself. OJ mayo has to shoot more......and keep shooting. And Hollins better go deep in his rotation, everyone is tired. OKC has to stop Westbrook from shooting too much and let Durant do that (and durant is to blame partly for this, also) and someone else, Ibaka maybe?  HAS TO SCORE for OKC.



Since: Jun 5, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 7:09 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder look to keep the party going

I've got to agree with the Mavs fan on that one.  Whether OKC or Memphis moves on, Dallas is representing the West, though I don't see a sweep.  Whomever it is, I'll be rooting for them over the East's representative, but at the same token, either of those 3 teams will be an underdog to either the Bulls or the Heat.

Back on topic however, I think the Grizz pull out a 3 point win tonight before falling in a hard-fought game 7 to set up a Thunder v Mavericks final.



Since: Sep 19, 2007
Posted on: May 13, 2011 4:47 pm
 

Playoff Fix: Thunder look to keep the party going

It doesn't matter who the Mavericks play....Memphis or OKC, both teams will catch 4 L's from Dirks jumpers to 2nd half D.
Ahhhhhhhhh!!!! Take that with you!!!!
Go Mavs, lets get it!



The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com