The Thunder closed out the Rockets, which was an excellent thing to do, and which was expected of them. Kevin Martin stepped up, Derek Fisher played as he was intended to, when he was acquired a year ago...and all was good in the world.
Now we see Memphis, trading away one of their best scorers, (like OKC), to save $$$ in a small market team environment.
We see a post-Westbrook Thunder team working through the playoffs.
Here's my take:
- Since February 19, 2008 only 3 games between the Grizzlies and Thunder have been decided by more than 10 points.
- In the first game, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, and Turnovers were very close. In the second game, The Thunder were Rebounds -8, Assists -5, Steals -10, Turnovers +10.
- Kevin Martin had 25 points in the first game, he had 6 in the second.
- Thabo had 3 points in game 1, and 7 points in game 2.
The Grizzlies were simply scrappier in game 2. Rebounds, assists, steals, and turnovers.
If the Thunder simply play hard, and up to their potential, they can win this series...and possibly the next.
However, they simply aren't.
- Guys are taking nights off...and by that I mean they aren't producing their averages.
- Stop blaming Perkins for anything. I intentionally put none of his stats here. Why, because if Martin, Ibaka, and Sefalosha simply get 10 points a game...there's nothing to talk about.
- Rebounding, Rebounding, Rebounding. Offensively and Defensively.
The Thunder must realize that no play is over until it is either in the net, or in someone's hands. Too many times this season, and particularly last night, we played awesome defense for 20 seconds, or got a block, or got a steal....and then we didn't chase down the ball with the very hard work we preach each and every day.
Fast break...Durant comes out of nowhere to block the layup. Martin and Jackson watch as Randolph grabs the block and puts it in...they quit at the freethrow line. The play IS NOT OVER until the ball is in the net or in someone's hands...preferably our own.
We quit 2 seconds too early, we didn't follow through, and key players didn't drive hard enough to get points, or make up for points in the stat columns...and I'll include Perk in that category.
It's about work gentlemen, not awesome plays...and if Durant can get you 30-45 a night, you get paid more than well enough to step up, and dive for a ball, or pay a little more attention to blocking out...
We've always scrapped against the Grizzlies...check our playoff records...this isn't about blowing anyone out, it's about rebounds, assists, and sticking with the plays on D until they are done.
Or we are...