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2013 NBA Playoffs: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder, Game 3 Preview

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We talk about subtle shifts in strategy, individual performances, and what the Thunder need to do in order to win.

It's gonna be tough, that much I know.
It's gonna be tough, that much I know.
2012-2013 NBA PLAYOFFS Round 2!!!!
The Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22)
The Memphis Grizzlies (56-26)
May 11th, 2013
The FedEx Forum, Memphis, Tennessee
4:00 PM Central Daylight Time
Entertainment Sports Programming Network
WWLS the Sports Animal (98.1), 92.9 FM ESPN
Enemy Blogs: Grizzly Bear Blues, 3 Shades of Blue
Playoffs: Game 1, Game 2 (Series Tied 1-1)
Regular Season Series: Nov. 14, Jan. 31, March 20 (Grizzlies won series, 2-1)
Injury Report: Russell Westbrook (Out)
Probable Starters
Reggie Jackson PG Mike Conley
Thabo Sefolosha SG Tony Allen
Kevin Durant SF Tayshaun Prince
Serge Ibaka PF Zach Randolph
Kendrick Perkins C
Marc Gasol

Nobody really knows what direction this series is going to go, but that's what makes the NBA exciting, isn't it? It's really hard to tell which team is going to break through at this point, with the Thunder seemingly hinging on the bad shooting of Martin and Ibaka. Meanwhile the Grizzlies rely on the shot of Bayless and Mike Conley's right hand. Stuck between it all are the rocks known as Kevin Durant, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph, all determined to do everything they can in order to give their team any possible edge.

I'd love to talk about the shift in strategy between Game 1 and Game 2, but the fact is that adjustments in this series aren't that dramatic. This team isn't like the Rockets, who needed to try gimmicks to stay competitive while battling with injuries. Sure, there's been some changes. The Grizzlies went with Tony Wroten and Ed Davis in Game 2 instead of Keyon Dooling, but their impact was little more than a blip on the radar. Meanwhile, the Thunder tried out a small lineup during Game 2 that was rather successful, but they never went back to it over the course of the game.

There were some definite constants and shifts in performance, though. On the Thunder's side of things, Derek Fisher continued his strong shooting during Game 2, while Kevin Martin hit the tank. Ibaka pretty much continued being an offensive negative, and Reggie Jackson remained relatively quiet. The Grizz saw a lot more production out of Mike Conley, but they weren't able to get the same out of their bench.

In terms of big men, Kendrick Perkins had a pretty bad rough patch at the start of Game 2, hedging high on too many screens and refusing to stay with Gasol to prevent open jumpers. He found his footing in the second half and was able to limit Gasol, but his performance needs to stay consistent. Otherwise, Gasol and Randolph have been pretty for the course overall.

Looking at the big picture, the Thunder will really need to concentrate on ball control. The Thunder simply can't rely on their offense to out gun the Grizzlies at this point, and making sure that they take more shots and get to the line is their best chance at success. As long as they can hustle for the tough rebounds and move the ball on offense, they should be good. There's things you can do here and there, but when it really comes down to it, the Thunder and Grizzlies are two extremely evenly matched teams, and the game is going to go down to the wire. The only thing that lets me rest comfortably is the fact that we have one of the best closers in the game.

Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 95, Memphis Grizzlies 93.

If you are looking for tickets to upcoming games, you can find Oklahoma City Thunder tickets here.