After a tightly contested ending to game one, the Memphis Grizzlies will stroll back into the Loud City with revenge on their minds. Meeting them on the court however is OKC's enforcer, Thunder center Kendrick Perkins. Perkins has struggled however, going back to the end of the last series against the Houston Rockets, it seems as though Perkins has slipped in his offensive presence, struggled with fouls, and has yet to have a double-digit rebounding game. Last game, Perkins was one-for-six shooting, with only two points and seven boards. Perkins is never expected to do much on offense, but if Perkins can post up on a player like Tayshaun Prince or Quincy Pondexter, he can get some surprise baskets.
Another key to the Thunder's success in game two is to take pressure off Kevin Durant. If Durant can push the ball, everyone, that means everyone, has opportunities to finish plays. Reggie Jackson can take pressure off Kevin Durant, so look for him to be more aggressive. If Durant is favoring the corner and Jackson is at the top of the key, at least on of the defenders is going to be forced to sink into the paint, manning up on Serge Ibaka or Nick Collison. If Durant is being double-covered, expect other guys like Thabo Sefolosha or Kevin Martin to drive the lane or shoot from downtown, knowing they can both hit it, although Sefolosha hasn't been as effective as of late.
Lastly, the Thunder need to capitalize on fast break offense when it presents itself in order to take advantage of the Grizzlies' transition defense. Only six fast break points for the Thunder in game one. SIX POINTS. That's ridiculous! You need to take advantage on the twelve turnovers the Grizz are committing, and turn that into a fast break. You do lose a ton of speed in Russell Westbrook, but you still have Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher at the one spot. Get down the floor, post up on the ball side, and get it to the hole. Simple sixth grade stuff. Rebounding might be an issue with the height the Grizzlies have with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. The passing is a different story. Make Mike Conley uncomfortable and pass the ball to an unwanted position.
That sums up today's keys to success for the Thunder. Catch the game tonight on TNT in Oklahoma City.
Follow me on Twitter for all #Thunder related stories!— Alex Strouf (@LetsGoAlex) May 7, 2013