The Oklahoma City Thunder were desperate for a win entering Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal with the Memphis Grizzlies, and after two quarters of play are in position to get that much needed road victory. Oklahoma City holds a comfortable 56-48 halftime lead over Memphis.
The Thunder trailed 2-1 in the series entering Monday night, but used a 7-0 run to open the game and haven't looked back, leading by 11 after one quarter and by eight at the break. Kevin Durant leads the Thunder with 14 points through two quarters of play.
However, the real story of the first half was how Durant's teammates responded after a shaky Game 3 performance in which Oklahoma City was limited to just 81 points in a road loss. Serge Ibaka had a solid opening half with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Kevin Martin added 11 points off the bench.
Through two quarters of play, Memphis has been led by point guard Mike Conley, who has 13 points, including 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Kevin Zimmerman asked three questions about the game. Here are some early answers:
Can the Thunder stretch the floor and execute in the half-court?
So far, the answer has been yes. Oklahoma City has opened the game shooting well from beyond the 3-point arc, hitting 5-of-10 in the first half. Durant was 3-of-4 from downtown for the Thunder, while both Reggie Jackson and Ibaka each added a three-pointer of their own. For Ibaka, it was just his second three of the series.
Overall, Oklahoma City is shooting 53.8 percent from the field.
Will anyone rattle Marc Gasol?
To their credit, the Thunder have taken the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year out of his element in the first half of Game 4. Gasol, who averaged over 21 points per game in the first three match-ups of this series, has nine points, but on just 3-of-8 shooting in the first half.
Who has more playmakers?
Right now the answer is Oklahoma City. After a 16-point, 10-rebound performance in Game 3, Reggie Jackson has again been solid with nine points, two rebounds and four assists, while Kevin Martin and Nick Collison have combined for 17 points off the bench.
The surprise though is Ibaka, who has 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting after a miserable game on Saturday when he made just 6-of-17 shots from the field.