2013 NBA Playoffs: The long break should benefit the Thunder

Ronald Martinez

We finally arrive tonight at Game 3. How will the Thunder adjust to the Grindhouse?

With the series split one game apiece, the Oklahoma City Thunder should feel good about their chances to win the match-up with the Memphis Grizzlies and advance to the Western Conference Finals. In Game 2, the Thunder was heavily out-rebounded, gave away 29 points off of 21 turnovers, and was out-scored 30-19 in the fourth quarter, and yet, the Thunder still had a one point lead with less than three minutes to go in the game.

"This is a rebounding series," Scott Brooks told reporters in his post-game interview. The Thunder gave up 16 offensive rebounds that led to 23 second chance points, after giving up just 8 offensive rebounds that led to 4 points in Game 1. In all, Memphis recorded 43 rebounds while OKC had 35. In a series where the game could be determined by what happens in the fourth quarter, the Thunder was out-rebound 13-7 in the fourth.

Coach Brooks pointed out the 21 Thunder turnovers in Game 2, saying that there were too many to overcome. In the first half, Memphis guards pressured the Thunder bringing the ball up the court which resulted in 11 turnovers by halftime. In Game 1, they only had 10 turnovers the whole game.

"We have to take care of the ball, keep them off the glass offensively and get some offensive rebounds ourselves," Thunder Guard Reggie Jackson said. "We feel that if we do those things and play basketball the right way, we can come up with a win."

The Thunder has the league's best scorer who won that title for three consecutive years. Kevin Durant didn't win the scoring title this year, but taking into consideration the fact that he didn't play in 14 fourth quarters all season long and sat out the entire final game, we can speculate that Durant is the most efficient scorer in the game today. He had 36 points in Game 2, while Derek Fisher helped out with 19 points, Serge Ibaka had 11, and Reggie Jackson scored 10. Still, the Thunder was outscored by 11 points in the fourth quarter. For a defensive-minded team as OKC, giving up 30 points in the second quarter and 30 in the fourth is unacceptable.

Nick Collison spoke about Kevin Durant's defensive efforts, "He's doing everything. On the defensive end, he's been really good too. He's been totally locked in the whole 48 minutes."

Durant grabbed 11 rebounds, had one steal, and blocked a shot. "I can always do more," Kevin Durant said. "I'll look at film and see my spots and see where I can get my teammates the ball and see how I can get some of these guys going."

After three full days of practice (the most since their All Star point guard was injured), the Thunder is looking forward to the chance to come out in Game 3 with a solid game plan and be the aggressor. "We do know one thing - it's the first team to four," Coach Brooks said. "We have to go into their building and get a win."

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