OKC Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Playoffs Preview / Prediction | Respect the Crown | Sports Unbiased

OKC Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Playoffs Preview / Prediction

Image Courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images

Image Courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder have clinched the No.2 seed in the Western Conference which means they will enjoy home court advantage throughout the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder have the regular season edge over the Grizzlies with a 3-1 record. Projected MVP Kevin Durant will look to lead his team past a very tough and physical Grizzlies team featuring Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Last season the Grizzlies defeated the Thunder 4-1 in the Western Conference semifinal round of the 2013 NBA playoffs. The Thunder were without key player Russell Westbrook, but this season the team seeks to avenge their early exit during the 2013 NBA postseason by eliminating the Grizzlies.

Thunder versus Grizzlies Playoffs Schedule

April
Opponent
Time
Local TV
Nat TV
Radio
Sat 19@ Oklahoma City Playoffs:
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
8:30 PMYESESPNWFMS
Mon 21@ Oklahoma City Playoffs:
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
7:00 PMYESTNTWFMS
Thu 24vs Oklahoma City Playoffs
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
7:00 PMYESTNTWFMS
Sat 26vs Oklahoma City Playoffs
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
8:30 PMYESESPNWFMS
Tue 29@ Oklahoma City Playoffs
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TBDYESWFMS
Thu 1vs Oklahoma City Playoffs
FedExForum, Memphis, TN
TBDYESTNTWFMS
Sat 3@ Oklahoma City Playoffs
Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TBDYESWFMS

 

Who are the key players on both teams?

Arnold Glass: Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is the key player for this team, they must look for him more often for the team to flow on both sides of the ball. I will pick the Thunder’s power forward Serge Ibaka as the key player for them. He has to continue to be a defensive presence in the blocks to keep Gasol and power forward Zach Randolph at bay.

Jr. Williams: Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph will be the key players for the Grizzlies. I expect a lot of offense to flow down-low for Gasol and Randolph, the Thunder will have their hands full with these two players. Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka will be the key players for the Thunder. OKC relies heavily on Durant to score the ball, but if Ibaka can step up both offensively and defensively, this could be a short series.

Keys to winning the series

ThunderArnold Glass: We already know Kevin Durant will get his, the Grizzlies just have to stop everybody else and it can be done because of the stingy defense led by shooting guard Tony Allen. OKC’s point guard Russell Westbrook has to stay healthy and get his game under control (that means look Durant’s way a little bit more).

Jr Williams: The Thunder have to push the tempo against the Grizzlies. Russell Westbrook will have to calm down, allow his offense to flow, and avoid his tendency to shoot ill-advised shots. Durant will get his touches but it will take a valiant effort from the rest of the team if they want to win this series.

GrizzliesThe Grizzlies have the size advantage, therefore they should stick to their half-court offense, pound the ball down-low, and try to force the Thunder over the foul limit, forcing Ibaka or Kendrick Perkins to the bench early.  Mike Conley will have issues defending Russell Westbrook, he could be a non-factor in this series, but the Grizzlies are a solid team capable of stretching this series to seven games.

Series Prediction

Arnold Glass: Here’s another “down to the final game” series. We will see if it is true about teams not wanting to see the Grizzlies in the playoffs. I have to say, if Lionel Hollins was still the head coach for Memphis, I would give them a better shot of beating the Thunder; but for now I have to give the edge to OKC in a close Game 7.

Jr. Williams: Kevin Durant has a look in his eye this season that scares me ( in a good way ), he has the offensive ability to single-handedly dismantle the Memphis Grizzlies. As long as Westbrook can play his role as the “sidekick”, the Thunder have a great opportunity to win this series. I have the Thunder winning the series in six games, 4-2. 

Jr. Williams

About the Author: Jr. Williams

Military Veteran with a passion for NBA basketball and vintage sneakers. When I'm not rambling about the latest NBA topics, I am collecting and restoring vintage sneakers. Please support independent writers by clicking any of the share buttons. As always, thank you for reading.