The Memphis Grizzlies and Oklahoma City Thunder are familiar with each other in the playoffs. The two teams played a seven-game series in the second round in 2010-11, with the Thunder winning Game 7 and advancing to the Western Conference Finals. They'll renew that rivalry, starting at 1 p.m. ET Sunday in Oklahoma City on ABC.
Here are three things to watch in Game 1:
1. Can the Thunder point guards keep it up?
Russell Westbrook being out for the playoffs is still a devastating blow for the Thunder, but it was less devastating than expected in the first round because Westbrook's replacements played really well after his injury.
In the final four games of the team's series against the Houston Rockets, Reggie Jackson stepped into the starting lineup and averaged 18 points and four assists per game while shooting nearly 50 percent. Derek Fisher, who wasn't even on the Oklahoma City roster until late in the season, found his shooting touch, averaging 10 points per game and making 56 percent of his shots in the final four games. He also played strong defense, particularly against James Harden, in the series.
Memphis is a tougher opponent with better perimeter defenders, so the Thunder will continue to need breakthrough performances from Jackson and Fisher.
2. What will Perk and Z-Bo do?
When the Thunder and Grizzlies played in November, Zach Randolph and Kendrick Perkins were both ejected after exchanging words during the game. Then they exchanged more words after the game. If the two were playing with that intensity in November, imagine what they'll be capable of in a seven-game playoff series?
Randolph was ejected from the Grizzlies Game 6 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in round one and Perkins picked up a technical and worked off his aggression via on-court pushups in Oklahoma City's final game in the first round. So in other words, both are rounding into playoff form nicely, just in time for this series.
Although Perkins was often a liability in the first round against the smaller, faster Rockets, he should figure prominently into this series as the Thunder will need his toughness against the strong, talented and physical Memphis frontcourt.
3. Can the Memphis redemption tour continue?
Last season, the Grizzlies lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers. This season, they got revenge by beating the Clippers in six in the first round.
The last team before the Clippers to knock Memphis out of the playoffs was Oklahoma City, winning in seven games in 2010-11. Can the Grizzlies get one more payback win and advance to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history?
Memphis beat Oklahoma City two of the three times they played in the regular season.