The Thunder-Grizzlies series is amazingly close through three games. Hard to imagine how a series could be closer. It’s not that we have dramatic finishes, necessarily, which we had in Game 1 and virtually had in Games 2 and 3. But the games are close throughout the entire 48 minutes.
Through three games, we’ve had 49 lead changes and 32 ties. Game 2 alone had 27 lead changes.
The biggest lead by the Grizzlies is 12 in Game 1. The biggest lead by the Thunder is five in Game 2.
The Grizzlies have led by double digits for a total of 2:27 the entire series — 2:08 in Game 1, 19 seconds in Game 3.
Compare that to OKC-Houston, a series of wild swings. In Game 4 of Thunder-Rockets, each team led by 13. In Game 6, the Thunder led by 15 and trailed by 11.
The difference is clear. Scoring is at such a premium in OKC-Memphis, neither team can get an edge. No big scoring streaks. No huge runs. Two straight baskets is a wild momentum swing.
Now, to the Grizzlies’ credit, they have had the upper hand, and not just because they lead two games to one. Memphis has had a small advantage most of the first three games. The Thunder led Game 1 for just four minutes, Game 2 for 15:36 and Game 3 for 7:05. That’s 144 minutes of hard-core basketball, and the Thunder has led for just 26:41. That’s a lot pressure to play under. Playing from behind is mentally taxing.
But the Memphis defense has kept the Thunder mostly under wraps. Don’t expect the tone of this series to change. It’s likely to remain grinder.
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