Who: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder (Series tied 2-2)
When: Tuesday, April 29th, 8:00 PM CST
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Watch: NBAtv, Fox Sports Tennessee
Discuss: 3SOB on Twitter / 3SOB Forum, Grizzlies Message Boards
The Grizzlies showed unquestioned poise and playoff resolve to storm back from a 12 point deficit to open the fourth quarter on Saturday night to knot it up and force another period of free basketball. In their third straight overtime bout with the Thunder, however, the Grizz inevitably cracked and dropped Game 4 at the Forum. Now they head to Chesapeake Energy Arena in attempt to break the series’ 2-2 stalemate. A win tonight would set the Grizzlies up to bring home a 3-2 series, while a loss would put them on the ropes with one foot out of the door for the 2013-14 season. This has shaped up to be one of the wildest series on the mantle of the wildest first round of the NBA playoffs that we’ve seen in quite some time, with no sign of taking it easy on the collective blood pressure of #Grizznation any time soon.
Can’t take in all the mayhem of this series by yourself? Join the 3SOB and GBB teams at tonight’s watch party for celebration and/or emotional support!
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
- 24.4% - The combined shooting percentage of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Game 4. If you had told me this stat prior to the game, I would think that the Grizzlies took that one running away. In fact, if you were to tell me that they’d ring up this collective percentage again tonight, I’d be pretty confident to state that the Grizzlies take this one, too. The defensive preparation and intensity for the Grizzlies has been top notch in this series, but sometimes when you prepare so hard to stop individual entities of a collective, the supporting cast may surprise you… which brings us to:
- 32-30 – The spread of points between Reggie Jackson and the entirety of the Grizzlies’ bench in Game 4. One would have to imagine that this cannot possibly be the case tonight, but that person may not have been watching much of Reggie on the season. This guy’s ability is no joke, and his relative absence in Games 2 and 3 may be more complicit in the Grizzlies’ success than we would prefer to admit. The Grizzlies are not new to the concept of being burned by pesky, athletic combo guards off opposing benches (see: Bledsoe, Eric – Clippers), and must do a better job of keeping tabs on him this evening.
On the unfortunate side of this spread is the Grizzlies’ bench, which was anomalously carried in the scoring department by Tony Allen, who put up a monster 14 point, 13 rebound line and stayed completely out of foul trouble on the night. Playoff savior and backup point guard extraordinaire Beno Udrih saw his greatest volume of minutes on the series (19), as Coach Joerger opted to roll with the smaller lineup to mount the comeback stretch in the 4th quarter, but only managed to score 6 points on the night. Perhaps more surprisingly so, Kosta Koufos, who played an excellently productive Game 3 saw just a shade over 2 minutes in Game 4. I don’t see Marc Gasol playing over 48 minutes for a second straight game, so the backups are going to have to produce here tonight.
- -14 - The plus/minus measure with Zach Randolph on the court in Game 4. Randolph has been held below 36% shooting in three of the four games this series, which has had a damaging effect on the Grizzlies’ offensive execution. Whether or not the #Feed50 attack is necessarily the most efficient offensive design is certainly a discussion for another day, but the ability to kick it to Zach inside to get some quick points on the board when the team is undergoing periods of stagnation is paramount. They simply have not been able to do so with any semblance of reliablity in this series. According to Marc Gasol, the Grizz need to get Zbo his touches with deeper position in the paint in order to bring his productivity back to the norm. However, I’m not so sure this is the answer. Serge Ibaka and Durant have been using their freakish length to absolutely pulverize the Grizzlies’ below the rim style of generating points in the paint. So it will be interesting to see if the Grizz can get this thing going in the mud.
Speaking of Gasol, he actually showed the willpower and aggression on the offensive side of the floor that Grizzlies fans have been so starved to see since he first suffered his knee injury back in November. His 23 point, 11 rebound line was far more reminiscent of something you would see Randolph putting up on the scoreboard, and a breath of fresh air in one sense. The issue with this in the other sense is for every possession that Marc is looking doing damage on the block, he’s not out there working his magic as the offensive turnstile for the Grizzlies at the elbow, getting Randolph and the wing scorers involved.
- 56.5% - The percentage that the Grizzlies shot at the free throw line in Game Four. Just, no. No more of this.
3 Shades Deeper into the Series
- Check out the pre-series “Matchup Madness” post, for a rundown of the rosters from top-to-bottom.
- Refresh your memory of games 1, 2, 3, and 4, with top notch recap coverage compliments of Zach Thomas and Matthew Noe.
- The Grizzlies have been bringing it into overtime all series, and so did Jonathan May, Josh Coleman, and Phillip Dean in Saturday’s playoff edition of 3SOB Radio, featuring Steve Kyler, Brian Davis, Weston Shepard, and the one and only Brevin Knight, partner!
- Jonathan May ruminates on the prevalence of the statistical absurdities of Game 4.
- Antonia Bufalino took a deeper look at the Tony/KD matchup.
- Jonathan May played nice with an OKC blogger.
- Chip Crain explores an interesting analogy regarding the contrast in play styles, and takes a subsequent peek at an officiating point of emphasis.
- The 3 Shades of Blue fam’s newest member Matty Preston dishes on a new addition to the Forum.
- Zach Thomas goes behind the scenes with the Grizzlies’ entertainment crew.
- And of course, follow the 3SOB team on Twitter!