|Written by Michael Patrick|
It is no surprise that they go into their series with the upstart Grizzlies 6.5 point favorites in the opening game this Sunday. The Thunder only needed five games to defeat the Nuggets in their opening round series, and with the exception of a couple of bumps in game 4 they looked nearly flawless with the NBA's best duo, Durant and Westbrook.
The Grizzlies are riding high after their defeat of top seed San Antonio in the first round. Their victory represents something that has happened only four times in NBA history, a number eight seed defeating a number 1. However, the Grizzlies have a lot to be confident about as they enter this series. Besides playing their best basketball of the season at exactly the right time, they have also owned the Thunder, defeating them three out of the four times they met this season. If the Thunder are going to come out on top, as odds makers have predicted for game one, they will have to contain budding NBA superstar Zach Randolph who is averaging 20 points and 12.5 rebounds per contest. Randolph proved to be too much in the opening round for the Spurs defense.
There is no arguing what the Grizzlies will have to do, contain the dynamic duo. Durant and Westbrook have been dominant thus far in the playoffs. Durant is scoring 32.5 points per game and ssems to be able to get a basket at will, while Westbrook has forced things a bit at times but has still been able to score 23.5 per game.
One thing is for certain, the Western Conference is definitely in a state of change. The traditional dominant teams are being pushed around by the youth of the league. Now it will be interesting to see how far the youth will go.