Round 2, Game 7 (OKC v Memphis)

So the game just ended and here’s what I’ve got.  I missed the first quarter, but caught the last 3 of the game.  Initial thoughts: the best team won.  In fact, the way OKC played, one is left wondering how Memphis even competed and sent this series to seven games.  A telling stat – Memphis came back to win 2 games after being down by 10 or more at the half.  I do believe that Memphis simply played with more heart and desire than OKC, but in the end talent won out.

OKC was built to play Memphis with enough talented bigs to counter Randolph (who I finally watched score) and Gasol (who pulled a Pau and seemed petrified of shooting outside 5 feet) as well as great wings to drain Tony Allen and Shane Battier.  And you could see how weakened those two were as well as Randolph who seemed exhausted throughout.

Fittingly, the turning point of the game really came in the 3rd quarter when the Thunder hit three after three over Allen and Battier and turned a 4-8 point lead into a 12-16 point lead for the remainder of the game.  Also, the stretch in the 4th quarter where Memphis made basket after basket, trying to claw back into the game, but unable to stop Durant and Co from matching them and absolutely crushing their will to compete.

The player of the game has to be Westbrook.  Durant lit it up with 39, but his shots were so wide open all night.  Westbrook finally (FINALLY) stop shooting every time down, finished with less than 15 shot attempts, but filled the box score with assists (14) and rebounds (10).  If Westbrook remembers to play second fiddle to Durant, Dallas will be in trouble.

My thoughts going forward are that this next series is going to be very, very intense.  Dallas looked so incredible coming off their destruction of LAL that they’re going to be over-rated for sure, but I still like them over OKC simply because the Thunder took 7 games to put away a vastly over-matched opponent.  Harden seems to be the king of streaky (as is Durant as well) and Westbrook is so prone to team-destruction it’s like playing with fire.

I’ll give a more complete update on how I see the Dallas v OKC matchup tomorrow.  A few tidbits, though: Dallas really wants it, which, if you’re a OKC fan, you really haven’t seen from your team all post-season before tonight; Dallas knows how to get the most out of their team; OKC is going to have a decade or so youth “advantage”; the series will undoubtedly feature the 3-pointer; OKC has half-a-dozen or so bigs to throw at Dirk (Collison, Nazr, Perk, Ibaka, Durant) – Dallas has Marion (undersized), Stevenson (undersized), Terry (not good on D; undersized) and… Brewer? Stojakovic? Nowitzki? Kidd? to guard Kevin Durant.

Off to write a preview of the Bulls v Heat series.

Yours Truly,

Basketblogger

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