The Memphis Grizzlies deserved to win Game 6, there was no doubt about that. They played hungry and hard; a game that could potentially rattle younger teams, what with only their season and this iconic run on the line, instead inspired them, if nothing else outlining just how unconventional and almost ignorant this team is.
And afterward, when the media sought a response, the Grizz talked about their motivation—selling us insistently on the idea that they are an underdog. Surely it’s an idea that exists only in their minds, or at least only their locker room. They are an eighth seed gone mad, producers of a lop-sided upset (does that make sense?) of the Spurs and now taking the League’s darlings, the Thunder, to the limit. But does anyone who has actually seen this Grizzlies team play over these past four weeks really consider them an underdog?
They head into Game 7 on the heels of a convincing home win. Zach Randolph once again was dominant, 30 points and 13 rebounds when his team needed him to lead. OJ Mayo got the start and scored 16, while Mike Conley had a double-double with 11 and 12 assists. Memphis was fueled by a furious second half, out-scoring OKC 51-29, and just flat out getting it done on both ends.
Kevin Durant was subjected to a mortal 11 points on 3-14—we can’t wait to see what he’ll do in his first Game 7. Russell Westbrook had 27 and was by far the best for a Thunder team that had many passengers.
Game 7, Oklahoma City, winner take all on a Sunday afternoon with the rest of the League watching. Sounds about right. — Todd Spehr