The Memphis Grizzlies did just what they wanted to do last night. They won one of the first two games in Oklahoma City and have stolen homecourt advantage away from the Thunder.
Mike Conley led the Grizzlies to a 99-93 victory as he nearly recorded a triple-double with 26 points, nine assists and 10 rebounds.
Kevin Durant put up gaudy numbers again going for 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on 11-for-21 shooting in 43 minutes.
Now with this series tied 1-1 heading to Memphis for the next two games, is it time to panic for the Thunder?
Here’s the thing, the time to panic for the Thunder has long passed. You could have rationally panicked after the team traded away James Harden and you definitely got to panic after Russell Westbrook got hurt.
It’s really amazing more than anything else that Durant and the Thunder are good enough to hang with the Grizzlies in this series. It’s a favorable matchup for the Thunder and that’s he biggest reason why they aren’t going to get run out of the gym anytime soon.
I said before this series started that every game was going to be close. Right now, neither team can score enough to run away with a game and each team should be able to play pretty good defense on the other.
The Thunder got the win in Game 1 since to late-game heroics from Durant. In Game 2 it would be Conley and the Grizzlies coming back from behind. This is how a tightly played series goes.
Could the Thunder lose in five or six games? Sure. It’s possible. The same goes for the Grizzlies though.
The biggest issue with Game 2 was the Thunder giving up 16 offensive rebounds. Memphis is of course a team that thrives on the offensive glass and part of what makes this matchup such a good one for the Thunder is that they should be able to limit that Memphis strength. They didn’t in Game 2 and that, more than anything else, killed the Thunder.
Kevin Martin also struggled from the field going 2-for-11 and Serge Ibaka was pretty quiet again scoring 11 points on 5-for-12 shooting. Nick Collison didn’t attempt a shot in 15 minutes, turned the ball over four times and didn’t get a rebound. That can’t continue either.
The Thunder are in trouble in this series but they’ve been in trouble since Westbrook went down. Nothing new surfaced after Game 2.
The Thunder will be in for a close battle in this series. They just need to continue making adjustments game-by-game and hope that Durant continues to play like a god.