At this point, I’m beginning to wonder just who the hell the Memphis Grizzlies think they are. Less than a few days after becoming just the second team in the history of the NBA to knock off the number one seeded team as an 8th seed, they march into Oklahoma and steal game 1, seemingly with ease.
Zach Randolph is putting his critics to shame. His offensive prowess was never disputed, but his critics always maintained that Randolph was not a team player and labelled him a black hole on offense. At one point in his career while playing Portland that may have been true, but Randolph has matured. And now the man with the best hands in the NBA and an immovable body is as the kids say, “beasting” everyone. How was this guy not an all star?
You have to have one hell of a game to outshine a 33 point 11 rebound – double-double from Kevin Durant. Zach Randolph or Z-BO as he’s known, managed to top that. Randolph had 34 points and 10 rebounds, he had 3 steals, he was shooting the 3 ball and he probably scalped some tickets too! The man was doing everything to lead his team to a 114-101 victory and he got some help, four other players registered double digits in points for the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol chipped in with 20 points.
Russell Westbrook, despite his 29 points had a poor shooting night going just 9-23 from the field. When Westbrook plays more of a facilitator and less of a scorer the Thunder are a better team.
But make no mistake, game 1 wasn’t lucky. The Grizzlies outplayed the Thunder from top to bottom and their athletic ability seemed to stifle the production of Oklahoma’s role players, while the Grizzlies seemed to score with ease. Too many turnovers (18) and too many offensive rebound (17) surrendered by the Thunder gave the Grizzlies easy points. To the Grizzlies, a missed shot or a bad shot is like a turnover and they use their athletism to get fast-break points. The Thunder will have to take better care of the ball if they want to take game 2.
This series has seven games written all over it, but with Kevin Durant as the best player on the floor, it should be the Thunder’s to lose.