Grizzlies (7-3, 3-3 road) vs. Thunder (5-5, 3-2 home)
Memphis leads 3-1
View from the enemy: 3 Shades of Blue
It felt like Game 2 was a must-win. Then it felt like Game 3 was. Then it definitely felt like Game 4 was. But this, THIS one right here, is actually a must-win. Lose tonight, and it’s all over. It’s hard not to feel like a win tonight in Game 5 would just delay the inevitable, but it’s a one-game-at-a-time process for this team, and it has been since Russell Westbrook got hurt. The Thunder can’t come back from 3-1 tonight in Game 5. But they can stay alive.
We’ve all seen it. This series is agonizingly close. It’s been about a number of plays late, and they haven’t broken the Thunder’s way. It’s not like the Grizzlies are obviously better than the Thunder. It’s about not doing what it takes to win.
This is it though. Lose, and it’s over. It doesn’t seem like it should’ve been like this, like it’s not fair. But this is the circumstance. Win, or else. I would very much like to see this Thunder team at least one more time. I would VERY much like to see Kevin Durant play at least one more time after tonight. Give us one more, Thunder.
Three Big Things
1. Tempo. There’s no secret that the Thunder have played better while maintaining pace in this series. Scott Brooks even said during a “wired up” segment in Game 4 that the Thunder needed to be playing faster in the second half. Letting the Grizzlies settle into a defensive shell where they can shade and double and triple KD isn’t working for OKC.
2. Help 4 48. KD got help in Game 4. But only for about 28 minutes. Part of that was the fault of Durant for calling his own number a lot, part of it was on the supporting cast for not rising to the occasion. There’s a trust issue here and while it’s tough to take the ball out of the hands of KD, he just can’t do it alone. And he can’t think he can.
3. Finish. Just finish the game. You’re probably going to be right there again. You’re probably going to have a chance in the final three minutes. Just finish the game.
Tip at 8:30 CT. Go Survive.