Western Conference Round 2 Preview: Oklahoma vs Memphis

Posted by By at 2 May, at 17 : 57 PM Print

The West playoff matchup in Round 2 is now official! It will be between the talent filled Oklahoma Thunder and the dangerous Memphis Grizzlies

The regular season matchup has actually been won by Memphis 3-0!
1/4: Oklahoma @ Memphis – Memphis won 110-105
2/8: Memphis @ Oklahoma – Memphis won 105-101
3/7: Oklahoma @ Memphis – Memphis won 107-101

The regular season results show a clear picture that they all have been very close games with Memphis always coming out of the game with the win. We could very much see the same in the playoff matchup this round. Memphis, led by Randalph looked strong and dangerous against the top seeded Spurs, and proceeded to the 2nd Round winning 3-2. Thunder played the selfless Denver who looked like a huge threat but led by the Westbrook and Durant combo, they won 3-1.

The confidence is definitely with Memphis as they have the wood over Thunder, and who wouldn’t be confident after beating the top team in the playoffs?!
I believe the biggest and most pivotal matchup will be between the PG’s Russell Westbrook (Thunder) and Mike Conley (Grizzlies) as they both are the play makers of their teams and if one of them stop the other, then that will have a significant impact on their team’s chances of winning, as they are the source of goals, assists, steals and even rebounds, especially when playoffs come around.

The key players for both teams are:

Kevin Durant (Thunder) – He is the most important player on the roster for Thunder no doubt. Durant can score at will, defend, dish assists and get rebounds. This man is the going to be a constant threat throughout the whole series

Zach Randolph (Grizzlies) – Randolph has been a superstar in the playoffs thus far and led Memphis in their first series win. He is dominating the paint and the board. Stop Randolph and win the game, simple as that. But it will be a challenge to stop him, Thunder will try and use Ibaka to stop Randolph. Finals MVP isn’t a far call if Memphis make it far.

Kendrick Perkins (Thunder) – Perkins was added to the team for this very time. To bring a strong interior presence in that playoffs. He will be crucial in stopping Randolph and Gasol from scoring in the paint and making life harder for them. If he can turn it on offensively as well, then look out!

Marc Gasol (Grizzlies) – Gasol has been a bright light in the playoffs as well, in fact, playing better than his brother, Pau at Lakers. Marc has been playing with high intensity by putting up big numbers, getting the boards and defending well. He was fantastic in stopping Tim Duncan and will be playing a smaller threat offensively in Perkins. So he should have another great series in him!

This series is the first time that both Memphis and Thunder will have played in Round 2 of the playoffs and they both deserve to be there with their teamwork, defensive efforts and offensive power! This will be a high scoring affair and the winners will only be separated by a goal here, or a rebound there as it will be very close. I expect this series to go for 6 games with Thunder winning 4-2

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One Comment

  1. Hadji, 9 years ago Reply

    Well actually, the Lakers won the series against the Hornets 4-2 and OKC got over the Denver Nuggets 4-1.

    I don’t think the match up between Conley and Westbrook is as critical as the performance of Gasol and Randolph.
    I believe Memphis run is based on the duo’s performance (Gasol/Randolph), if they execute well then Memphis may get over OKC.

    But if OKC is capable of neutralizing the duo (possible if Kendrick and IBAKA step up their defense) then they may overcome the Memphis to move on to the Western Conference Finals.
    Ibaka has to definitely step up defensively along with Perkins in order to limit the dominence of the front court of Memphis.

    I like OKC to win the series but the Grizzlies have been playing really well, although I believe that OKC with the emergence of Harden, Ibaka and Sefalosha will be able to slow down the Grizzlies and win the series…The Grizzlies have been playing extremely well so anything can happen.

    Just like Pops (Spurs Coach) stated it, it is the West Coast…all the playoffs teams are really good! From #1 through #8.

    This is definitely one of the most intense series of the playoffs.

    Great analysis James!

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