In the best half of playoff basketball the Thunder has played so far, OKC leads the Memphis Grizzlies 56-41 at intermission of game #6 in Tennessee. The Thunder inserted Caron Butler into the starting lineup, in place of Thabo Sefolosha, presumably to help the club get out to a quick start. The move worked as OKC took a 19-8 lead just eight minutes into the elimination game.
Kevin Durant was obviously “reliable” in the opening half. Motivated (perhaps) by a controversial headline in the local newspaper, Durant was comfortable and in rhythm the entire half, leading OKC with 18 points on 7-13 shooting. Fellow all-star Russell Westbrook played much more under control and has 12 points at the break on 6-12 shooting. As a team, the Thunder is shooting 56% (23-41) after entering the game having shot below 40% in each of the last four games against the Grizzlies.
Zach Randolph leads Memphis with 14 points, but the Thunder finally started containing “Z-Bo” after he scored the first 8 points of the game for the Grizzlies. Marc Gasol has 11 for Memphis, but OKC’s bench was productive on both ends of the floor, Reggie Jackson tossed in 8 big points including a couple of 3’s and Steven Adams, Nick Collison and Derek Fisher were smooth during their time as well.
The Thunder MUST win the game to tie the series at 3 wins apiece and force a 7th and deciding game Saturday night at “the Peake” in downtown OKC.