Are the Grizzlies for Real?

The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder are tied at a game apiece after the first two games were played in Oklahoma City.  Memphis took game one, stunning the Thunder and the rest of the NBA world. Both teams are young, but it was the Thunder that most people had as the dark horses for the Western Conference. Memphis took down the “aging” San Antonio Spurs – the excuse for Memphis getting by in 6 – but most critics have Oklahoma City making the Western Conference Finals. Suddenly, Memphis’ split in Oklahoma City is causing heads to turn their attention to the Grizzlies.

Zach Randolph – AKA Z-Bo – has lit up in the playoffs. Ever since Rudy Gay went down with his season-ending shoulder injury in early February, it’s been Randolph’s team.  He had 34 points and 10 rebounds in the first game, and a below-average second game, with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Randolph averages 25.2 per win and 16 points per loss. He’s a catalyst for this team to continue their success in these playoffs. Game 2, Nick Collison contained Randolph, and the Thunder broke out into a commanding lead by the second quarter, despite a brief comeback by the Grizzlies.

Besides Randolph, Memphis’ Center, Marc Gasol, has played well – averaging 14.75 points per game, 12.1 rebounds and 2 blocks. Tony Allen plays with true grit, grinding out games to win.

Memphis’ bench has also been a catalyst in winning. Their bench has been a key role bringing them to the second round, with quality minutes most every night from Shane Battier and O.J. Mayo. Although many thought Mayo would be a star player now, his role off of the bench has been enough to help the team win games. Even rookie Greivis Vasquez puts in a quality couple of minutes in the game, playing his heart out with every chance he gets.

If Memphis’ bench can keep rolling, Randolph plays the way he does and they can contain Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook – which is no easy task. The Grizzlies are for real. They just have some enormous mountains to climb to get to the promise land.

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