It was a rematch of the fantastic playoff series from last year. And it almost lived up to those games. OKC comes into this season as a favorite of many to reach the finals. I can certainly see that given that they have three guys (Durant, Westbrook, Harden) who can consistently get their own shot and two good post defenders.
The Grizzlies enter this season with high expectations, at least for this franchise. Rudy Gay returns from a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing in the playoffs. Adding Gay's ability to a very good inside game has fans thinking the team could contend with OKC for the West.
The game opened on a downer for the Griz. On the first possession Mike Conley stepped on Perkins' foot and twisted his ankle. He didn't play the rest of the game. But the backup PG, Pargo, stepped in and played very well. Though initially this seemed to hurt the offense as they went 0 for their first 12 shots. But eventually Gay, Randolph and Gasol got going. The one place I think they missed Conley was 3 point shooting. The Griz didn't take too many 3 pointers. But they were terrible from 3.
That turned out to be a problem since OKC took a lot more and thus made more. Plus Kevin Durant showed why he is arguably the best player in the game. Rudy Gay hung in there most of the time. But Durant consistently hit tough shots that kept the Griz from taking the lead. But just like last year this team kept fighting and made it close at the end. I would have liked win this game against a very good team at home. But given Conley's injury and the adjustment of Gay back in the lineup I think they fared well. If they consistently play hard I think they can meet expectations and be a middle-seeded playoff team.