Which team will win Thunder-Grizzlies series?

May 11, 2011

Depth will prevail

Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Monday took a ton out of both teams, but the pain tends to linger far longer for the losing team.

While the series has been as wildly erratic as Russell Westbrook's play, the Thunder are playing for a legitimate shot at the NBA Finals. The Grizzlies remain in glad-to-be-here mode, persevering in the injury absence of Rudy Gay.

Eventually the clock will strike midnight for the Grizzlies (although it did Monday and they just kept on playing), and reality will hit home.

The Grizzlies already are the feel-good story of these playoffs, and it couldn't have arrived at a better time for flood-ravaged Memphis.

But the Thunder's depth of talent figures to prevail in what now is a best-of-three series.

iwinderman@tribune.com

OKC is A-OK

Vaughn McClure

Chicago Tribune

When I met Kevin Durant at his Chicago shooting camp last summer, I instantly became an Oklahoma City fan based on how kind and humble he was.

So my opinion on this series might be a tad biased, but it would have changed had Memphis survived that Game 4, triple-overtime thriller. The Grizzlies seemed destined for the Western Conference finals after Mike Conley and Greivis Vasquez hit those ridiculous desperation 3s, but the Thunder found a way.

As long as Russell Westbrook stops taking ill-advised jump shots and realizes Durant is the money player in crunch time, the Thunder should advance in a grueling, seven-game series. That's a big "if'' because I thought Westbrook learned his lesson after he took 30 shots — and made 12 — in Game 4 against Denver. Not so.

vmcclure@tribune.com

Grizzlies demoralized

Paul Doyle

Hartford Courant

It might be simplistic to say the team that survived the Game 4, triple-overtime thriller will win the series, but it sure seems like a turning point for the Thunder. Not only did Oklahoma City regain home-court advantage, but the outcome of the epic game has to be demoralizing for the Grizzlies.

Not that this has been a predictable series. Memphis should be overmatched, but the Grizzlies have taken advantage of inconsistent play by Oklahoma City and were poised for an upset.

Can the Grizzlies bounce back in Game 5? Maybe, but it's difficult to imagine Memphis overcoming such a crushing loss and winning on the road.

Plus, the Thunder have the best player in the series — Kevin Durant. Talent ultimately wins, even if it takes three overtimes or seven games. That's why Oklahoma City will move on.

pdoyle@tribune.com

Hear the Thunder

Barry Stavro

Los Angeles Times

Young NBA teams are like toddlers; they fall, get up and walk farther the next time.

Last season the Thunder pushed the Lakers to six games in the first round, exiting with a one-point loss in Oklahoma City.

This spring the Thunder have won six games in the postseason, and with home-court advantage over Memphis, they should squeeze past the Grizzlies — another young team learning to walk — and get to the Western Conference finals.

There, the Thunder will meet a veteran Dallas team, though both the Mavericks and Thunder still are trying to learn how to win a championship. That's the next step in the journey.

bstavro@tribune.com

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