On a night of barn burner games none ended in a more dramatic fashion than Oklahoma City and Memphis.
First, there only was overtime because of a Jerryd Bayless three at the end of regulation on a great stop move where Reggie Jackson bit on the pump fake.
Then in overtime it was back-and-forth and came down to one final shot, down one by Memphis. Mike Conley did a good job of getting Zach Randolph the ball in the post where he likes to work, he faces up and drives baseline and Nick Collison does a pretty good job to contest. He gets a little help on that from Kendrick Perkins.
But to help Perkins has to leave Marc Gasol on the weakside and there is nobody left who can handle his size and strength. Randolph’s shot goes a little long and Gasol is right there to give the Grizzlies a big win. In about the most dramatic way possible.
PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Clippers ready to win West?
It could happen, they are certainly contenders. But two things need to happen.
The big one is their defense, which was middle of the pack last season, needs to move into the top 10 (and DeAndre Jordan needs to play consistently like a guy who is third in Defensive Player of the Year voting).
Second is the new and improved bench unit of Lance Stephenson, Josh Smith, and Jamal Crawford (he’s not new) need to mesh into a unit. Those are three guys who like to create for themselves and make questionable shot choices, getting them play well with others could be a bumpy road.
Stephen Curry gives high five while his shot is in air (video)