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Three Thunder keys: What OKC needs in the second half against Memphis

by Erik Horne Published: April 29, 2014
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Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) looks for room between Memphis' Tony Allen (9) and Marc Gasol (33) during Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant (35) looks for room between Memphis' Tony Allen (9) and Marc Gasol (33) during Game 5 in the first round of the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

The Thunder trails 55-43 to the Memphis Grizzlies at halftime of Game 5. Here’s what needs to change and stay the same in the second half.

Change: Defense. Defense. Defense.
If the Thunder is going to win, it’s going to have to slow down Memphis in the second half. The Grizzlies were on fire in the first half, shooting close to 60 percent. Zach Randolph and Mike Miller combined to shoot 9-of-11 from the floor and Randolph didn’t miss at all. Too many missed defensive assignments, too much matador defense by the Thunder, which allowed 26 points in the paint.

Change: Scoring at the rim
The Thunder was 6-of-9 from three in the first half. Good numbers, but OKC also missed some easy buckets underneath. Kevin Durant’s shooting struggles continued after a strong start, as he had a layup rim out and was 3-of-10 overall in the first half. Durant and Russell Westbrook were 0-of-12 in the second quarter and the Thunder has only 10 points in the paint. That can’t continue.

Stay the same: Keep it coming, bench
Playing in his NBA record 245th career playoff game, Derek Fisher looked like a spring chicken, scoring five of the bench. Reggie Jackson was just as good with six of his own and two 3-pointers. The bench had four of the Thunder’s six 3-pointers and 14 points overall, continuing its revival from Game 4. If Westbrook and Durant’s struggles continue into the second half, Jackson may need to have another “Jacked Up” performance.


by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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