What to watch in Thunder-Grizzlies Game 2
A daily look at the Thunder’s status in the playoffs
Tonight: The Thunder play Game 2 against Memphis tonight at 7 inside Chesapeake Energy Arena. The Thunder lead 1-0.
Tonight around the league: The only other game aside from the Thunder is the Warriors at Clippers. Tiptime is 9:30 CT.
Yesterday and before: Probably best the Thunder are extra careful heading into their game tonight. Home teams are just 3-5. Sunday, higher-seeded teams Chicago and Houston lost at home. Saturday, Toronto, Indiana and the Clippers all lost at home.
What it means: Hard to handicap the situation at this very early stage of the playoffs, but in the West, the Thunder looked the part while San Antonio, Houston and the Clippers looked sluggish. The Spurs rallied from 10 points down in the final 8 minutes to edge the No. 8-seeded Mavericks while the Rockets lost in overtime and the Clippers got beat by Golden State.
What to watch for tonight: Kevin Durant was the star in the Game 100-86 victory, but Russell Westbrook is worth noting. Westbrook came out of the game after getting hit in the stomach in the second quarter and sat for the first 5:33 of the fourth quarter after the Thunder had their lead cut from 22 to four.
Westbrook said he was fine after the game and coach Scott Brooks said the same, but the All-Star struggled in the second half, going just two-for-nine from the field. Westbrook wound up 8-of-19 for 23 points. Westbrook is no longer on any minutes restriction. He played 32:30 on Monday.
1 more thing to watch for: No Perry Jones. No Jeremy Lamb. Both of those things were probably expected, but starters Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins played only a combined 27 minutes with Sefolosha playing less than 11.
That could be because the two are still recovering from injuries that knocked them out each about a month, but it could be because Brooks trusts others a bit more. Caron Butler played 30 minutes and had nine points. Sefolosha and Perkins combined for two points and four rebounds.
What to think about from Game 1: Much like this season, there was a lot of good and some bad. The Thunder were so good in the first half, then fell apart in the third quarter, getting outscored 31-13.
OKC has had issues all season starting slowly, but that wasn’t the case Saturday. It will interesting to see what kind of first quarter the Thunder will put together tonight.
A season ago: The Thunder were in a similar situation a season ago against the Grizzlies. Kevin Durant made a game-winning shot in Game 1 but then lost the next four and were out of the playoffs.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK