|2013/2014 NBA Playoffs|
|Memphis lead 3-2|
|May 1st, 2014|
|FedexForum in Memphis, TN|
|7:00 PM CDT|
|Fox SportsSouth/ 92.9 FM ESPN/TNT|
|Mike Conley||PG||Russell Westbrook|
|Courtney Lee||SG||Thabo Sefolosha|
|Tayshaun Prince||SF||Kevin Durant|
|Zach Randolph||PF||Serge Ibaka|
|Marc Gasol||C||Kendrick Perkins|
5 Key Ingredients for a Grizzlies Closeout
Establish an early inside presence
We saw the fruits of this initiative in Game 5 as Zbo rumbled to the rim early on and made space for other Grizzlies to get involved. There's no one on this Thunder team who can truly stop Marc Gasol (sorry Serge) so I'm looking for more of the recent assertiveness we've seen from Big Spain. This ingredient isn't left up to the big guys either; Mike Conley is most effective when those paint floaters are falling.
Keep the Sticky Durant gloves on
While we do know the Thunder can win without a huge effort from KD (see Game 4), I don't think there's many of us worried about another Reggie Jackson explosion with the Thunder's life on the line. It's already been a long series with the Grizzlies having played nearly an additional half-game of overtime so far; a half game that has been rung out of the exhaustion at the end of intensely competitive contests. The first team to crack on this game of chicken could end up losing. Tether up TA to KD and let's milk the Grindfather one more time.
Cooler heads prevail
The Thunder are backed into a corner, essentially making them the most dangerous team in the league tonight. These guys are no pushovers and I fully expect the see the apex of this series' physicality tonight in Memphis. It's going to be chippy and sour-faced so the Grizzlies will need to rely on some of that cool vet presence to keep them centered and focused on the real goal: being at least 1pt up at the end of regulation.
Never build a lead greater than 10 pts
Okay, that's a joke ...sort of. You obviously want to score as much as possible, but it seems like when the Griz get up big they tend to hibernate. We need a slow and steady pounding of the fist tonight. Analogy: you're trying to kill a rogue wasp that's inside your house. You don't want to go berserk and swat around blindly for the little cur; you might think you've squashed him but you've only knocked him into the window and gotten him nice and pissed off. What you need is a thick heeled shoe and to calmly approach the bug and bring all your weight down onto the shoe as you feel its carapace crack and pop under the pressure of your entire body.
Empty the tool belt
Everyone knows we don't want to go back to OKC to finish this, right? Stealing 3/4 road games seems like a ridiculous task that no one wants to gear up for this weekend. Joerger has put a premium on resting starters and keeping key players fresh, but tonight might require throwing everything, including the kitchen sink, at the Thunder. Do whatever it takes to end this tonight and pray the Warriors have another win in them to give the Grizzlies at least a couple of days rest before a potential round 2 tipoff.