Kevin Durant must have gotten sick and tired of all the negative stories and comments regarding his play in the 1st round playoff series vs the Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, the Grizzlies, themselves, have probably had enough of the negative Durant talk, because it seems to have awakened the apparent favorite to win this year’s MVP award, in Game 6.
It’s not that Durant hasn’t been good. He just hasn’t been MVP like. He’s also been noticeably absent for several plays or minutes at a time during offensive possessions.
Not the case in Thursday’s Game 6. Even though, Durant struggled from beyond the arc, his mid-range game was better. He was also much more effective taking the ball to the hoop. His aggressiveness resulted in 15 trips to the charity stripe. That’s compared to 6 trips to the free throw line in Game 5.
Part of Durant’s success can also be attributed to adjustments made by head coach, Scott Brooks. Inserting Caron Butler into the starting lineup and playing Steven Adams more, opposed to Kendrick Perkins were great moves.
Butler, gave the Thunder more of an offensive punch early in the game than Thabo Sefolosha had been giving them and gives Memphis another scorer to worry about defensively. Adams is younger and more mobile than Perkins. His mobility seemed to open up the paint more for drives to the hoop by Durant and Russell Westbrook.
Of course, the Grizzlies had to lend a hand, themselves. The Grizz looked flat from the start. They looked as if the Game 5 victory celebration hadn’t ended, or perhaps the pressure of closing out the series had gotten to them.
By the time, Memphis tried to recover it was too late. Now, in order to beat the Thunder, they’ll have to win in Oklahoma City for the third time in this series. What are the chances of that happening?
To make matters worse, point guard, Mike Conley injured his right hamstring late in last night’s game. He looks to be good to play, but how effective will he be?
Update: Now, the Grizzlies will also be without Zachary Randolph, who was suspended for a one game following Thursday night’s incident where he shoved Steven Adams. So, it looks like Adams presence was more beneficial than first thought. Memphis without Z-Bo will be a huge blow to say the least.
This will be the second time in four years that OKC and Memphis will play a game 7 in the playoffs. OKC won the first meeting. Who wins the rematch?