Gamethread at 8:30. Be there!
Time: 8:30 PM Central Daylight Time
Place: The Fedex Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
TV: Turner Network Television
Radio: WWLS The Sports Animal (98.1), Soul Classics 103.5 FM WRBO
These past few days have been cautious at best for Thunder fans. There are good things to reflect on, like the fact that we have at least one more game to play at home, the fact that we have played excellent defense all series, and the fact that we were up by double digits in the fourth quarter of the last game. But there's also the negatives. We are really bad at finding offense in tough situations. Russell Westbrook can get a bit thick-headed at the worst of times. Even KD can go ice cold. And, worst of all, if we lose tonight, we face a whopper of a 3-1 deficit.
But today is a new day, and the Thunder should be especially determined to win. The holes in our offense aren't things that can be sewn up in a jiffy, but they are things that can be temporarily repaired. Here are some adjustments I'd like to see made tonight....
Call at least every third play for someone not named Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.
I don't care if it's an Ibaka jumper, a Collison cut, a Perk back-down, a Harden drive, or even a Sefolosha corner three. Get everybody involved in the offense. The stars will have their chance to shine, but they proved last night that they can't win it on their open. Honestly, I'd rather see Thabo clank a three than Westbrook missing a double-teamed jumper. It keeps our offense diverse, and it opens up better opportunities for our best players.
Rotate in a fresh player late in the fourth.
By the time Overtime ran around, Kendrick Perkins was almost hurting us more than he was helping us. And, depending on where you stand, you could say the same thing about Russell Westbrook. So, if a certain player looks tired and is giving up things defensively, then rotate in someone else for a couple of possessions. Above all, we need to stay fresh, because when we aren't, our big men aren't as aggressive and the Grizzlies get easy points.
Get out in transition if at all possible.
You know what happened in the final minutes and overtime of Game three? Not a single transition point. I don't care if it's a baseball pass to Durant or Harden trying to get fouled by three guys, we should at least attempt to score on the break. It's been one of our calling cards all season, and when you stop doing it, you lose a whole aspect of your offense.
If we make these three adjustments and continue to play excellent defense, I would say a win is guaranteed tonight. Though I still think the Grizzlies will win the Series, I think that the thunder will strike back tonight and even the series. We may not have the matchup and gameplan advantages that the Grizzlies do, but we can out-smart them and we can out-talent them. The Thunder have already accomplished the latter. However, if they are to win this series, they must out-smart the Grizzlies.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 105, Memphis 98