OKLAHOMA CITY (Sporting Alert) — After winning four straight games to dump the underperformed Los Angeles Clippers in the NBA playoff First Round, the Memphis Grizzlies now take aim at beating the Oklahoma City Thunder when the two meet in Game 1 of the second round Sunday.
Live Coverage: ABC
When: 1:00 PM ET, May 5, 2013
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
Live Box Score and Live Audio Streaming
Memphis, led by Zach Randolph came from 2-0 down beat the Clippers 4-2 in their series, while the Thunder, who are without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, survived the scare from the Houston Rockets to also win their seven game sereis 4-2.
On Sunday two of the NBA league’s best big men in Randolph and Serge Ibaka face-off in what should be a very strongly contested series.
Kevin Durant and Thunder were deemed lucky by many experts to have beaten the Rockets and most of them now believe the Grizzlies will be too much for beaten finallist from last year.
Lots of eyes will be on Randolph and Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins, following their history this season with heated battles and Durant is expecting a very physical series.
“That’s their DNA. That’s what they do, and that’s what we do,” Durant said.
“Guys are going to go out there pushing and shoving, and it’s going to be a really physical series.
“That’s what both teams do. That’s what we hang our hats on.”
The Thunder, according to sources, will be ready to frustrate Randolph into losing his cool, especially after what they saw in the series with Clippers.
“I got to keep my cool because that plays into their hands,” the power forward said. “So I’m going to go out just like they were trying to get me off my square during the (Clippers) series.
“I just kept my head and just play.”
Randolph had a fantastic series against the Clippers where he averaged 24.8 points in Memphis’ four straight victory and the Thunder know they must contain him.
Oklahoma City, without Westbrook is visibly struggling to play at the same tempo, which puts the bulk of the focus on Durant.
He scored 41, 27, 36 and 38 points in the last four games, which led to many to believe the Thunder is now a one man team.
However, Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins warns his team about believing such a thing.
“They’re not just a one-man team,” Hollins said. “They’re a good team, and we have to go play and earn whatever we get in this series.
“I feel good about our team simply because where we’re at mentally and physically.
“We’re in good health and we’ve been playing pretty decent. That’s why I feel pretty good about my team.
“I’m not worried about who they have or don’t have. We have to go out … and play according to our abilities.”