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Who is the Thunder’s MVP for the first round? Kevin Durant? Russell Westbrook? It might just be rookie center/hockey goon Steven Adams, who goaded Zach Randolph into this altercation. It wasn’t much of a punch, but it was enough to get Z-Bo suspended for Game Seven tomorrow. OKC fans are elated, Memphis fans are bummed, Ed Davis is trying not to hyperventilate, and NHL fans are laughing at what passes for a playoff fight in this sport.

As Steven Adams was selected with Toronto’s first round pick, delivered by way of Houston, this suspension also represents the first tangible return from the James Harden trade. Take a bow, Sam Presti!

Here’s Russell Westbrook stealing the ball from Mike Conley, down two, and dunking with four seconds left to send the game into overtime. This series has been full of heroic OKC efforts - Durant’s four-point play, Westbrook’s four-point play - to force an OT in which the Thunder would ultimately lose. There are years when the “One Shining Moment” montage contains fewer memorable plays than the Thunder have made in their five playoff games - and yet they face elimination, on the road, two days from now. If only there was a way to hit on a five-point play! It may not be theoretically possible, but if anyone can bend time and space through pure force of will in order to win a game, it’s Russell Westbrook.

BUZZER BEATEN

BUZZER BEATEN

As if a series that had four consecutive games go to overtime wasn’t close enough already, tonight’s came down to a tenth of a second, which is about how far after the buzzer Serge Ibaka’s putback came. Game 6 is Thursday, and you might as well add an hour to your DVR recording time now, because it’s probably not going to end in regulation.

After losing in overtime and letting Oklahoma City tie up the series, 2-2, Mike Miller knows what his team needs: more flair. That’s why he’s going to bring it in Game Five. Two more taped fingers. Three more bracelets. A second elbow sleeve. A headband. A hair scrunchie. A second pair of tights. A puka shell necklace. Google Glass. 
Mike Miller has been called a spare part, a role player, and a missing piece, but really, he’s an accessory.

After losing in overtime and letting Oklahoma City tie up the series, 2-2, Mike Miller knows what his team needs: more flair. That’s why he’s going to bring it in Game Five. Two more taped fingers. Three more bracelets. A second elbow sleeve. A headband. A hair scrunchie. A second pair of tights. A puka shell necklace. Google Glass. 

Mike Miller has been called a spare part, a role player, and a missing piece, but really, he’s an accessory.

Kevin Durant, the greatest H-O-R-S-E player of all time, delivers a four-point play.

The refs pretended to review the play to see if KD stayed in bounds, but secretly they just wanted to watch that shot five more times.

ZBO, #1 in our hearts.

NBA Playoffs throwback: Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs, 2011, Game 5 of the Western Conference 1st round.

Gary Neal drains a buzzer beater to send the game into overtime. The Spurs would win the battle but lose the war. Memphis would advance to play the Thunder in the conference semifinals.

The rematch has begun and game 2 is tonight at 9PM ET on ESPN.

Marc Gasol and the saddest t-shirt wearing of the playoffs.

Marc Gasol and the saddest t-shirt wearing of the playoffs.

It was a gritty and grimy game tonight.
— Zach Randolph, describing Game Two against the Thunder, and really, every game of his NBA career.

NBA Playoffs throwback: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 2011, Western Conference semifinals.

In a must-win game 4 with the Thunder down 2-1 in the series, Russell Westbrook goes for 40 in Memphis in a triple overtime victory. The Thunder go on to win the series before losing to Dallas in the WC Finals.

The rematch, sans Russ, begins Sunday at 1pm ET on ABC.

What exactly is the best way to describe the Memphis Grizzlies/Los Angeles Clippers playoff series? While it lacks the offensively flash of the Golden State Warriors-Denver Nuggets series or the kung fu movie like plot line about James Harden returning to Oklahoma City to knock out his former teammates. The best thing that the Grizzlies-Clippers series has going is the fact that these two teams do not like each other. It will most likely the physicality of the Knicks-Heats playoff showdowns of yore, the intensity will be there. A lot of it. This series could go either way and it’s going to be a slug fest. 
In fairness, I’m a little more partial to the Clippers because living in Southern California, I can watch more of their games instead of the Grizzlies (Sorry Grizzlies fans), but it will be interesting to see if Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can match up with Zach Randolph and the best center in the league, Marc Gasol. This Clipper team is certainly better than last season’s, but it lacks the physical presence of Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans off the bench. At the same time, the Grizzlies lack a strong scorer. 
It all comes down to Chris Paul. If Chris Paul is Chris Paul and plays out of his mind, then the Clippers have a strong chance of advancing to the next round. 

What exactly is the best way to describe the Memphis Grizzlies/Los Angeles Clippers playoff series? While it lacks the offensively flash of the Golden State Warriors-Denver Nuggets series or the kung fu movie like plot line about James Harden returning to Oklahoma City to knock out his former teammates. The best thing that the Grizzlies-Clippers series has going is the fact that these two teams do not like each other. It will most likely the physicality of the Knicks-Heats playoff showdowns of yore, the intensity will be there. A lot of it. This series could go either way and it’s going to be a slug fest. 

In fairness, I’m a little more partial to the Clippers because living in Southern California, I can watch more of their games instead of the Grizzlies (Sorry Grizzlies fans), but it will be interesting to see if Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan can match up with Zach Randolph and the best center in the league, Marc Gasol. This Clipper team is certainly better than last season’s, but it lacks the physical presence of Kenyon Martin and Reggie Evans off the bench. At the same time, the Grizzlies lack a strong scorer. 

It all comes down to Chris Paul. If Chris Paul is Chris Paul and plays out of his mind, then the Clippers have a strong chance of advancing to the next round. 

NBA Playoffs throwback: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 2012, Western Conference quarterfinals. 

Comebacks be cray cray! Chris Paul plays 38 minutes and Nick Young scores 19 points during a 26-1 Clippers run in the 4th quarter of Game 1. All of this in the face of Z-Bo push-ups and a kid’s head exploding courtside. At least Memphis won’t have to worry about Rudy Gay missing the last shot this year.

The rematch begins in Los Angeles Saturday night at 10:30pm EST on ESPN.

How bout some Raptors news? Memphis has traded Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal involving Detroit. 
Grizzlies get: Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, and a 2nd round draft pick
Pistons get: Jose Calderon’s expiring
Raptors get: Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi 

How bout some Raptors news? Memphis has traded Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors in a three-team deal involving Detroit. 

Grizzlies get: Ed Davis, Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye, and a 2nd round draft pick

Pistons get: Jose Calderon’s expiring

Raptors get: Rudy Gay and Hamed Haddadi 

Marc Gasol puts the MOVES on Kendrick Perkins. Damn son.

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