It was only one game against the seventh seed Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs. That one game is all it took for superstar Kevin Durant to prove exactly why the Oklahoma City Thunder is the team to beat in the Western Conference.
The Grizzlies is a team that is built on toughness. They have the size, the experience, the mental toughness and the grit to pull off many upsets on their way to the Western Conference Finals. None of that matters against the incredibly athletic Durant and his Thunder teammates.
The soon-to-be named league MVP might just be the best closer in the business. What makes him even better is that everyone knows Oklahoma City is going to give him the ball down the stretch of an important game and opponents still can’t do anything about it.
Durant scored 13 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder blew out the Grizzlies 100-86 in Game 1. He also knocked down 11 points in a span of five minutes in the fourth to go along with his 13.
Everyone wants to talk about how the San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the West, or how LeBron James towers over everyone in the league including Durant. Those are two specific reasons why Oklahoma City is not only going to thoroughly dismantle Memphis to the point where history might not even remember the Grizzlies were in the playoffs this season, but also why the Thunder will be waiting in the NBA Finals to take on whichever team dares to test them.
Many say Oklahoma City’s biggest flaw is that their offense can be anticipated, especially late in games. Even if there is some truth to that, it doesn’t really matter because Durant is clearly on a mission to prove that he’s the best.