Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder to face Memphis Grizzlies in first round

The Oklahoma City Thunder did what they needed to in order to grab the second seed in the Western Conference. They survived being down for most of their final regular season game against the Detroit Pistons to come from behind and snatch a victory – handing them the #2 spot.

In the later game, their opponent for the first round of post-season action would be determined in a thrilling battle which needed an extra period to determine the winner. The Dallas Mavericks and the Memphis Grizzlies slugged it out in an epic battle to determine who played the San Antonio Spurs and who would take on the Thunder.

Memphis were able to out-duel Dallas in the overtime period securing them a first round match up against the rival Thunder.

It was the Memphis Grizzlies who last year sent the Oklahoma City Thunder packing from the playoffs. The Westbrook-less Thunder had squeezed past the Houston Rockets and came out swinging against the Grizz but were unable to overcome the loss of Westbrook through injury as the stifling Grizzlies defense were able to lock in on Durant and limit his effectiveness.

There will be no such luck for them this time around.

Russell Westbrook is back and judging from his post All Star break form – he is back to his best. Thundering down the court in transition, finishing at the rim, being a pest and haunting ball handlers – Russ is out for revenge. He has always had that “chip on the shoulder” mentality, but you can bet it will be on display throughout these playoffs.

Kevin Durant must have solidified his favorite status for the MVP award with last night’s performance. In securing the win, the second seed and the scoring title, he also secured a shot at redemption. A better player than he was even just a year ago, Durant will be able to show the basketball world just how far he has come, and will be trying to exact some revenge on the Memphis team that ended his dream in last year’s second round.

This is going to be one of the best series in a long time and arguably one of the most intense battles of this years playoffs. Either team have the ability and the talent to win it – only one team can. Let’s hope that team is the Thunder.

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