The Memphis Grizzlies became the first team in this year's Playoffs to force a game 7 against Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC). They won game 6 in their home court with the score of 95 to 83. Zach Randolph carried his team. He had 30 points and 13 rebounds. He literally showed to all of us that he's the second superstar of Memphis with Rudy Gay, who's out because of an elbow injury. Imagine how good they can be if Gay is playing with them right now. With Zach's hot shooting against a variety of defenders, the Grizzlies had a 46 percent field goal shooting in the first half alone. Zach Randolph waited for 8 a long years just to be back here in the Playoffs. He's really making the most out of it.
The biggest blow against OKC in this game was the career low in terms of scoring of Kevin Durant. He only had 11 points which is way low from his 27 points average per game. Shane Battier did a great job in defending Durant. Ball denial is slowly becoming a lost art in basketball, but if you want to know how to do it just watch Shane Battier on how he does it against Durant and on how he forces Durant to move out of his comfort zone and shoot from a farther distance from the ring. He's a very effective defender.
The Grizzlies were down by 10 points in half time but when the third quarter started, they came out firing. Grizzlies coach, Lionel Hollins gave 3 important guidelines for his team. First, there should be no easy shots for Durant and company, second they should get the momentum by making impact plays just like the lay-up of OJ Mayo, and third, they should stop the ball especially when Westbrook has it.
Memphis responded. They limited OKC to only 27 points in the second half. That's a testament on how tight the Grizzlies' defense is.
Also, Mike Conley Jr. showed his leadership skills. Lionel Hollins gave him the starting point guard role. He just ran the offense through Zach Randolph. I also like his court awareness. He made a great shovel pass to Mayo for a great lay-up.
Conley will be the key in the upcoming game 7 because for sure OKC will make some adjustments against Randolph.
The first game 7 of this year's Playoff will be on Sunday, Monday here in the Philippines. Memphis just refused to end their season today. They stayed alive to chase a dream.
Here’s the Memphis vs. OKC game 6 replay of the video highlights from YouTube.