Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Grizzlies really need game 2 against Thunder

Game 1 hurt. No lead in the NBA is safe. But when you have a lead in the 4th quarter after playing better than the other team the whole game you should expect to win. The obvious criticism from game 1 was Tony Allen playing less than two minutes in the 4th quarter. I don't think this was as completely unreasonable as most seem to. Lionel's logic seemed to be that Quincy was having a good game offensively and Tayshaun is a better defensive matchup on Kevin Durant. So putting Tony in would deprive us from a good 3 point shooter or put Tony in the very tough position of guarding Durant.

I don't think that logic is totally misguided. But while Tony Allen isn't the 3 point shooter Quincy Pondexter is or is as tall and long as Tayshaun Prince is, he is a better overall player than both. At worst he should be splitting time with one or both of those players. I don't see why Tony or Quincy couldn't guard Durant for a while. Anyway, the point is that Tony Allen should be playing more in the 4th quarter than he did in game 1.

Lionel needs to make adjustments quickly because I think it will be harder to win this series if we go down 0-2 than it was against the Clippers. Chris Paul is great. But Durant is just a bit greater, particularly on the offensive end. He is close to being (if not there) in the company of Michael Jordan as a scorer. He shot 50% from the field and 40% from 3 this season, while taking a ton of shots. We won't be able to keep him from going off for four straight games. Or if we somehow can do that, there's a chance the rest of the Thunder team plays well enough to win (Ibaka won't shoot less than 20% again). What happens if Durant and a few other players are on at the same time? They could easily steal a game in Memphis, leaving us in a lot of trouble.

Russell Westbrook is a good player. But he isn't a great player. Ignore his point totals. He's only about an average shooter (career 52% true shooting %, average for PGs is 52.7%). But he does most other things well and is certainly better than the Thunder's other PGs, especially Derrick Fisher (I don't know what the fuck got into him in game 1). So Westbrook being hurt isn't quite the blow that most think it is. This Thunder team is still really good. And we obviously have to win a game in OKC to win the series. We had a great opportunity to do that in game 1. It will be easier to win this series if we get that win in game 2 and try to take care of business at home. So let's not go against the Grindfather again and get a win tonight.

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