It's official, the most exciting series of this playoff to date is over as the Oklahoma City Thunder finally had enough of the feisty Memphis Grizzlies and sent them home with a 105-90 win on Sunday. With the win, the Thunder advance to the Western Conference Finals to face the Dallas Mavericks.
With the 8th seeded Grizzlies playing so well this postseason, this series could have easily gone either way. Led by Zach Randolph, who has exploded into national media attention with a stellar postseason, The Grizzlies ousted the top seeded San Antonio Spurs and almost did the same thing to the young Thunder before falling just short in the end.
"We just believed we could play with anybody," said Randolph, who had averaged 28.3 points and 14.7 rebounds in the Grizzlies' three wins in the series. "We've been competing like this all year. We just wasn't seen nationally and a lot of people didn't know about us because weren't on TV a lot, but we've been playing good basketball all year and competing with the best teams."
The Thunder was led by the offensive explosion of Kevin Durant and the balanced game of Russell Westbrook.
Durant, who is the reigning two-time scoring champion in the NBA, has had a rough time against the Grizzlies, putting up his worst scoring game in his young postseason career in game 6 against Memphis. Such wasn't the case Sunday as Durant exploded for 39 points in the win.
"Durant is a special player, one of the best players in the NBA," said Randolph. "The kid is a gym rat, he works hard. He's one of my favorite players. You've got to give him kudos and give him respect. You see what he does night in and night out and he's just relentless."
Durant was finally able to go off thanks to point guard Russell Westbrook laying off the shots some. Westbrook loves to shoot, sometimes too much, but in this game he was pure money as he posted the fifth triple-double in a game seven ever and allowed Durant to be Durant.
"He gets picked on a little bit, but one of the things [with] Russell, he keeps playing," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "He keeps improving, he keeps getting better and tonight he controlled the game."
The Thunder are going to need this type of performance in the next round as they face a veteran-laden team in the Dallas Mavericks that have had ample time to rest up for the Finals.
Game 1 between the Mavericks and the Thunder is on Tuesday night.
Photo Courtesy of: ASSOCIATED PRESS