Thunder vs. Grizzlies: Three Things To Watch In Game 3

Thursday, April 24th 2014, 5:55 pm
By: News 9

Oklahoma City will face off against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 3 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals on Thursday night at the FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis. 

Here are three things to think about for tonight's game:

Offensive Offense

ESPN Stats & Info provided a great stat to show the Thunder's offensive imbalance.

Thunder a 2-man team? Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have combined to take 100 of OKC's 169 FGA through 2 games this postseason, Stats & Info tweeted.

The Thunder's offense has a problem.

Memphis runs Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol out there for about 40 minutes each, including every second of crunch time. Because of that, OKC needs Kendrick Perkins on the floor for defensive purposes, but his offense is obviously nonexistent.

This makes OKC play 4 on 5. Which would be okay, but the Thunder isn't even doing that.

Starting shooting guard Thabo Sefolosha, whom Scott Brooks uses in big moments, has only taken nine shots (and hit three) in the first two games of the series. Sefolosha shot just 33 percent from the floor this season and is clearly more hesitant to pull the trigger from downtown.

Reggie Jackson, a Sixth Man of the Year candidate, is shooting just 1-10 from the floor and 0-4 from deep in the first two games.

Caron Butler attempted just four shots in 23 minutes in Game 2. Derek Fisher is out there for his 3-point shooting, but is 0-3 from downtown in the series.

Someone on Oklahoma City has to step up and help these guys out.

For starters, perhaps it's time to get Serge Ibaka more involved in the offense. Ibaka is 12-20 from the floor in the series, but doesn't seem to ever get the ball down the stretch. A guy shooting 60 percent should have more than 20 field goal attempts in 81 minutes.

Road Whoas

Memphis is known as a tough place to play. There's noise, there's towels; the crowd even chants "Whoop That Trick" (not sure why). They've even nicknamed the FedEx Forum "The Grindhouse" due to the Grizzlies rough and tumble style of play.

But there's good news.

Road teams are 9-7 so far in the playoffs, while Western-Conference road teams are 5-3. Those numbers are even more impressive considering only higher-seeded teams have played their home games.

This is a wild year in the NBA, and truly anything can happen out there; wins in The Grindhouse included.

Allen Wrench

Tony Allen is one of the NBA's toughest defenders, and his relentless dogging of Kevin Durant has severely hindered the Thunder's offense.

Once again, ESPN Stats & Info has the goods.

Excluding transition plays, Durant has scored 30 points on 56 percent shooting in the series while defended by anyone except Tony Allen. With Allen on him, Durant has scored 25 points on just 36 percent shooting.

This ties into the Thunder's necessity to develop another offensive option. Allen has received plenty of help on the defensive end, mostly due to Memphis' lack of fear toward the Thunder's role players. If OKC can't space the floor and knock down shots, Allen and the Grizzlies will continue to make Durant's life difficult.