The game began just like Game 6 for Kevin Durant. His shots weren’t falling, and it looked like he and the Thunder were going to be in for another long night. Fortunately for Durant and his young squad, this time he would not finish the game the same way he started. Durant ended the game with 39 points, on 13-of-25 shooting, and nine rebounds; the Thunder will move on to play the German Fairy (Dirk Nowitzki), and his ragtag group of misfits.
The Thunder’s Game 7 victory means, unfortunately, the end of the Memphis Grizzlies entertaining run in these playoffs. I am going to miss watching Z-Bo do work on the block; Marc Gasol prove he wasn’t just a throw-in when Memphis sent his brother to the Lakers; the lockdown defense of Shane Battier; Sam Young and Tony Allen slashing to the hoop; and Mike Conley showing he can roll with the best of them at the point guard position. Here are three question marks for Memphis going forward:
1. Can Rudy Gay come back from injury, be the leader of this team and play within Coach Hollins’ system? Hollins’ system is built on ball movement, spreading the floor and slashing to the hoop. Memphis is at its best when they spread the floor, develop a low-post game early with Randolph and their athletic wings are taking the ball hard to the hole. As long as Gay plays within the system that worked so well for Memphis in these playoffs (I think he will), this should be a top-4 team in the Western Conference next season.
2. Will Marc Gasol build on the success he had in these playoffs, and take the next step to becoming one of the best big men in the game (a very short list)? Basically, will Marc progress, rather than regress, like his brother Pau-Pau seems to be doing? Pau-Pau shriveled up and went back to his Llama roots during the playoffs. He did this because his girlfriend didn’t really want to be with someone who ate grass every meal. I don’t see Marc having the same problem.
3. Will the Memphis Grizzlies finally change their name to the Memphis Blues? Why the hell do they call themselves the Grizzlies? Memphis, you have shown you can play ball with the big boys. It is time to get your act together, and change the name of your team to represent the great city you play in. I could see myself rooting for the Memphis Blues. I don’t really see myself sporting a jersey with a big blue grizzly bear on the front. Make it happen, Memphis.
As for the Thunder, I can’t wait to see them defeat Mark Cuban and the German Fairy. No one wants to watch an NBA Finals featuring Dirk Diggler, Peja Stojakovic and Cuban’s mini t-shirt’s. I don’t see the Mavs having an answer for Westbrook or Durant, and the Thunder have the size to roll with Dallas’ bigs. As long as Ibaka and Collison don’t get torched by Dirk every night, the Thunder should win in six games.