In case you were wondering whether the Memphis Grizzlies ending the San Antonio Spurs' season was going to be the height of their postseason, a dominant Game 1 performance against the Oklahoma City Thunder should be evidence that there's more to come. The Grizzlies beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City in today's Game 1, 114-101, becoming the first eighth seed in NBA history to win a best-of-seven series and then win Game 1 of the next series.
The most shocking thing may have been how easy it was for Memphis. The Grizzlies led from early in the first quarter, stretched that lead to double digits time and again, and withstood Thunder runs that narrowed it to as few as three points in the second half.
The Grizzlies played a ferocious game inside, and that was likely the difference: Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 54 points and 22 rebounds, and held Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins to a combined 18 points.
With their frontcourt neutralized, the Thunder needed Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to step up more than they usually do. Durant answered the bell, scoring 33 points on 21 shots and pacing Oklahoma City; Westbrook, on the other hand, struggled, especially in the fourth quarter. Westbrook had 29 points on 23 shots, and was miserable at the rim, failing to finish six shots from point-blank range against Memphis' twin towers.
Game 2 of this series, which Memphis leads 1-0, is Tuesday in Oklahoma City.