So the semi-final rounds of the NBA Playoffs are underway and they’re already awesome to everyone outside of Memphis. Seriously though, The Grizzlies’ campaign against The Thunder should yield more heart-stopping moments. You have to love the postseason rivalry rekindling between the squads and the odds for a fight between Z-Bo and Perk grow with each game.
Let’s keep it positive. I already can’t wait for Game 2 so here are a few observations going forward.
1. Memphis can’t afford to leave Tayshaun Prince alone when Kevin goes on his DuFlcoka Rants. Prince struggled in no man’s land while Durant willed his way to 35 points, 15 boards and a flurry of late buckets in OKC’s win. Lionel Hollins has to address his defensive sets and give KD different looks.
2. It’s clear Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins have their work cut out for them against the best Gasol in the family and real-life Ninja Turtle Zach Randolph. There have been constant concerns over their lack of a go to guy but they have two dependable, low-post scorers to work through. There’s no need to abandon their bigs after a bad loss.
3. Michael Conley Jr. became a huge liability and, at this stage of his career, ought to have the clear advantage over Reggie Jackson. His erratic shooting on top of running a disorganized offense really hurt his team down the stretch. He’ll have to regroup and heighten his floor admiral abilities next time out.
Ibaka also gets the gas face for his YOLO outing from the field.
4. Did you notice how much better OKC looked when they sped up their play? Kevin Durant is the best 1-on-1 scorer today but Scott Brooks can’t fall in love with isos eating up the shot clock. The best way to keep Memphis’ tough, half-court defense honest is to catch them slipping in transition. Also, when Memphis gets set, good ball movement and occasional drive and kicks get more potential scorers involved…as long as OKC’s shooters convert their attempts.
5. Kevin Martin must’ve heard you guys talking about him. Has he raised his game for good or is he bound for some more stinkers? Keep an eye on him because there’s an obvious correlation between his performance along with the rest of OKC’s cast. It’ll be interesting to see where Memphis’ coaching staff places their defensive focus going forth.