May 5, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts to a play in actioin against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half in game one of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder defeated the Grizzlies 93-91. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Playoffs 2013: OKC Thunder looking like title contenders again

24 hours have past since the Game 1, 93-91 victory, and yet….I’m still extremely emotional.

Martin’s spurt and production in the second and third quarter. Fisher’s timely threes. Durant’s go-ahead jumper with 11 seconds to go. Jackson’s cold-blooded free throws to seal the deal.

It all goes back to same point of emphasis about this Thunder team. They’re resilient. They’re tough. They’re experienced. And yeah, they still got #35.

But, is this game that vital and that important?

Yes. It was crucial.

Why? I’ll tell you.

Game 1 was a MUST win. If Oklahoma City lost in Game 1, they were in deep trouble. Not only in the aspect of losing and having to go and get one in Memphis, but in the aspect of mentally. Basketball is a pure mental game. If Oklahoma City lost Game 1, not only would the guys in the locker room lose hope, but so would the whole city of Oklahoma. “We can’t win without Westbrook.” “We can’t get by Memphis with no second option.” “Our playoff run is over.”

But, that’s not the case.

Kevin Martin chipped in a clutch performance with 25 points. Durant put matters into his own hands with 35 points on 13-26 shooting, 15 rebounds, six assists, and only three turnovers. And the Thunder snatched Game 1 after being down by nine for parts of the game.

There has got to be some belief and hope in that locker room. And why not? Why not have that arrogant and confident attitude about this emotional playoff run?

It’s amazing how quickly your perspective on the chances of another finals run can change. After Game 1 in Houston, it was through the roof. After Game 2, still high. Then the loss of Westbrook, it simmered down. After Game 3, it was still there. After Games 4 and 5, all of a sudden it disappeared. Loss of hope, faith, and confidence. And there here we are again, talking about how the Thunder can do it.

Can the momentum and energy be carried over to win three more games is the big question right now. Lets hope.

Tags: Memphis Grizzlies NBA Playoffs Oklahoma City Thunder

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