|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAThere is no denying that the Memphis Grizzlies had one of the most amazing postseason runs in all of NBA history.
From never winning a playoff game, let alone a series, this year's team eliminated the top-seeded Spurs in the first round, earning a permanent place in NBA history. Then the Grizzlies gave the No. 4 seed Thunder a scare, taking the Western Conference Semifinals to seven games before going down in defeat and earning an early trip to the postseason.
The Thunder started getting shots to fall after a terrible Game Six, shooting 48% from the field in Game Seven. The Grizzlies, on the other hand, were awful all night, never breaking 40%. And despite taking eleven fewer shots than Memphis, Oklahoma City had five more offensive rebounds. Overall, it was just a bad night for the Memphis Grizzlies, who had been a streaky team all postseason but hit one of their cold stretches at exactly the wrong moment.
After a disappointing Game Six, Kevin Durant bounced back hard, scoring 39 points, his best offensive output for the entire postseason so far. After faltering early in the game and missing some easy shots, he began to hit one after another, and the Grizzlies could not stop him and fellow Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook. Grizzlies star Zach Randolph went missing, scoring only 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
This will be the first time the Thunder have advanced to the Western Conference finals since 1996, when they were known as the Seattle Supersonics. The year, the team made it to the NBA Finals, before running into the buzzsaw that was the 72-10 Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman. Ironically, if they can make it past the Mavs, this year's Thunder may meet the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Finals again.
The OKC Thunder now go on to face the Dallas Mavericks, who have been resting since sweeping the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers from the playoffs over a week ago. The Mavs are the favorites to win the series and the 6-point favorites to win the first game in Dallas. While the top two teams left in the NBA battle it out in the East, the Dallas-OKC series should be just as entertaining, if not as hyped.