Grizzlies Thunder Game 7 Pick

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

Game 7

Saturday 8:00 pm EST

May 3, 2014

Line: Oklahoma City -9

Any notion about the reliability of Kevin Durant was put to rest after his Game 6 performance.

Having already survived one elimination game, the four-time NBA scoring champion will look to replicate his 36 points and 10-rebound performance in another must-win game. However this time, Durant and co. will be playing in front of their home crowd Saturday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

If the Thunder’s aggressiveness from the tip is a harbinger of things to come for the remainder of the playoffs, the Thunder’s aura that has surrounded them all season long makes them a dangerous threat once again. Oklahoma City took the lead at 8:17 in the first quarter on Durant’s fifth and sixth point of the game. They never looked back.

Now Durant’s legacy will be on the line in a deciding game in which the Thunder are heavy favorites, especially with the injury to Mike Conley, who is hobbled by a sore hamstring. Heading into Game 6, many wondered how Durant would respond after being criticized by his hometown paper. He answered in a profound and dominating way. Barring an upset, the Thunder will be playing in the Western Conference semifinals for the fourth straight year, unless the Grizzlies can become just the sixth No. 7 seed to defeat a No. 2 seed in a playoff series.

But Durant’s past success won’t lessen the importance of a victory in this game. It’s not about what Durant has done in the regular season, but what he hasn’t accomplished in June. Durant is the best scorer on the planet, feeling the weight of the franchise every time he takes the court.

If the Thunder were to win Saturday night, no matter what Durant’s statline will be, he’ll get all the credit. If the Thunder fail to rise to the occasion or if Durant’s performance is a flop, we can only wonder what the hometown paper will read Sunday morning. Durant would be just the 4th player to win the award and then lose in the Conference Quarterfinals dating back to when that round began in 1975.

Fair or foul, the scoreboard at the end of this game will tell us everything we need to know. Durant will be judged by win or a loss. Not by the number of points he scores or the number of rebounds he gets. Let’s not forget that the last season’s loss in the conference semifinals that was forgiven due to Russell Westbrook’s injury, but there are no excuses this time around – not with a healthy roster.

Durant was reliable in Game 6. He’ll be in a reliable in Game 7 too. It just won’t be enough to get the job done. I picked Memphis in seven before the series began. Smart or not smart, not even a vintage Durant performance, or a Zach Randolph suspension can get me from changing my mind. The Grizzlies already had one chance to eliminate the Thunder. Faced with their second, Memphis has a tough task if they want to survive and advance.

Even without Randolph, they’ll fight and claw until the end earning the cover. It certainly won’t be easy, but after 48 minutes are played, it’ll be worth the wait.

My Pick: Memphis +9

May 3, 2014 by : Posted in Picks and Predictions No Comments
Adam Rosen

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Adam Rosen is a seasoned sports writer with special interests in Pro Football and Basketball. He has been picking sports games against the spread for years, and has posted a 56% win rate over his last 75 predictions.

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