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Memphis or San Antonio: Home-court trumps all when it comes to preference for the Thunder's next foe

by Berry Tramel Published: April 28, 2011

The Thunder was the first team to reach the NBA's Western Conference semifinals, and now your friendly neighborhood Spidermen are all the rage.

Everyone from TrueHoop Network to Thunder-needler George Karl is raving about the Durantulas.

Locally, too, enthusiasm reigns. Witnesses report that Reno Avenue and Bricktown celebrated like V-J Day late Wednesday night, with masses of fans in the streets chanting “OKC! OKC!” and car horns honking to the rhythm of “clap, clap-clap, clap your hands.”

How kooky have we gone over this NBA playoff success? Otherwise rational people are staging serious debate over which foe would best serve Thunder purposes in the next round.

Spurs or Grizzlies?

No, I am not kidding.

The answer is clear. The Thunder should much prefer Beale Street to the Riverwalk. For this reason. The Thunder would spend less time there.

Homecourt advantage is paramount. You always want homecourt advantage. You always want to play a potential Game 7 while wearing home whites, not road blues.

I understand all the issues. All legit. The Memphis matchup is more difficult for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who would have to deal with elite defenders Tony Allen and Shane Battier. Most believe that Kendrick Perkins is an answer to the Grizzlies' inside duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, but we haven't seen it. Don't know for sure.

San Antonio clearly is playing on old legs. Tim Duncan is 35. Manu Ginobili 33. Antonio McDyess 36. Richard Jefferson 30.

Six weeks ago, the Spurs were 54-12 and on pace for 67 wins. Since then, the Spurs are 9-12 and look inferior to the eighth-seeded Grizzlies, who before this series had never so much as won a playoff game.

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by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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