Prince Back For Grizzlies
By Randy Renner
The Grizzlies will have forward Tayshaun Prince back in the lineup tonight. He played only four minutes in Saturday's Game 1 before having to leave with an illness.
He's a lot closer to 100 percent tonight," Memphis head coach Dave Joerger said before the game. "He's been great against the premier (small forwards) in the league this season.
Prince will defend Kevin Durant who now has the fourth highest playoff scoring average (28.7 points) in NBA history. Durant led all scorers with 33 points in Game 1. However, when Tony Allen guarded Durant in Game 1 KD was just 4-for-11 overall and 1-for-4 on threes. He was 2-for-3 when Prince was on him. Prince will start tonight and Allen will again come off the bench.
The Thunder got off to a blazing start Saturday, leading by as many as 25 points in the first half. Durant said today he and his teammates must do that again.
"They wanna start stronger than what they did last game and we know that," he told reporters after the team's shootaround. "We gotta be able to punch them first, instead of just layin back and waiting for them to punch us. We've gotta be the first hitter."
The Thunder certainly hit first on Saturday, racing out to a stunning 32 fast break points. Joerger said just before the game his players, "have gotta do a better job of getting back early," to slow down some of those transition plays.
They managed to do that in regular season against the Thunder. In the four games they played against each other OKC averaged just 11.5 points in transition.
Tonight's magic number may be 100. The Grizzlies are 63-8 over the last two seasons when scoring at least 100 points. On the other hand when opponents get to triple digits the Grizz were just 7-20 in the regular season and with the Thunder scoring exactly 100 points in Game 1 Memphis is 0-1 in this season's playoffs when an opponent hits that number.
And we'll finish with this...the Thunder are 21-8 in playoff games at OKC's Chesapeake Energy Arena and happily that's where we are tonight.