Somewhere Stromile Swift is smiling.....
The Memphis Grizzlies are one away from going farther than they ever have as a franchise...the Conference Finals. But to do so, it will likely take their best effort of the series.
All four games have gone the distance in this matchup, with Memphis pulling out three of them. Speaking of three, that is what the Grizz now have...a big one. Zach, Marc, & Mike are leading this team to never-before-seen heights with what I like to call 'controlled aggression'. All three guys have taken it to the Thunder (and Clippers, prior to that) at crucial times, allowing the other guys to just fill their roles. They've taken huge pressure off the likes of Jerryd, Tayshaun, and TA to just do what THEY do best, freely.
Tonight in Oklahoma City will be the biggest test yet for this Grizz team. Can they withstand what is sure to be an insane crowd to start the game? Will they be able to close out another game in the clutch knowing that Kevin Durant will have an infrared-life spotlight on him in the 4th quarter?
With a lot of teams, teams that rely on 'perimeter pleasure' for success, I would say no. But this Memphis Grizzlies team is what a playoff team used to look like...what they SHOULD look like. They play inside-out, even inside-inside at times, and use their lightning quick point guard to finish off opponents.
That being said, I can't see OKC losing this game. Durant will not miss any clutch FTs in this one or go cold from the outside in the 4th quarter. Expect Serge Ibaka continue to rebound from his Perkins-esque offense in this series while role players like Kevin Martin and Reggie Jackson will play with a lot of confidence at home. The Thunder will likely delay the inevitable, for one more game at least.
I just hope that no Grizzly gets hurt in Game 5. The Conference Finals await.....