The Memphis Grizzlies had control of game one of their second round series in the NBA Playoffs against the Oklahoma City Thunder for around 47 minutes of the game. It was a close matchup for the most part, but it seemed like the Grizzlies had the advantage until Kevin Durant hit the go-ahead jumper with just 11 seconds remaining in the game.
Memphis doesn’t really have much of a chance stopping Durant, who finished with 35 points on 13-26 shooting, because no team really has a complete answer for the Thunder’s superstar. However, the most devastating thing that the Thunder did to the Grizzlies in game one was to get Kevin Martin, who struggled in OKC’s first round series going offensively.
Martin was a solid bench scorer for the Thunder all season, but really only had one solid performance out of the team’s six first round games. He really got hot in game one against Memphis, though, scoring 25 points on 8-14 shooting and 3-5 three-point shooting. One of the reasons he was able to be so successful, though, is because Tony Allen was only on the floor for 21 minutes for Memphis and only seven of those minutes were when Martin was on the floor.
Allen is one of the best perimeter defenders in the entire league, but Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins really didn’t leave him on the floor long enough to have a chance to guard Martin. He favored playing Quincy Pondexter and Jerryd Bayless just as much as Allen, despite the fact that they weren’t having success defending Martin.
Going forward in this series, the Grizzlies and Hollins have to make adjustments and make sure that Allen can match up with Martin. It’s clear that Memphis is only looking to slow down Durant and make everyone else beat them. However, if Allen isn’t on the floor to stop Martin, the other guys for OKC can and will beat the Grizzlies.