Oklahoma City Thunder Playoff Schedule: TV Info and Predictions for Second Round

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Oklahoma City Thunder Playoff Schedule: TV Info and Predictions for Second Round
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Oklahoma City Thunder managed to advance past the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs, but the cost was high.

In Game 2 against the Houston Rockets, Russell Westbrook suffered a torn meniscus. He’s expected to miss the remainder of the postseason, which is a huge blow to the Thunder’s chances of making another trip to the NBA Finals.

It’s going to be difficult for OKC to even get past its second-round opponent, the stalwart Memphis Grizzlies. Let’s take a look at the complete schedule of games, highlight some players to watch, make a prediction on the outcome and more.

 

Thunder Second-Round Schedule (via ESPN)

Game

When

Where

Watch

1

Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m. ET

Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City

ABC

2

Tuesday, May 7 at 9:30 p.m. ET

Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City

TNT

3

Saturday, May 11 at 5 p.m. ET

FedExForum in Memphis

ESPN

4

TBD

FedExForum in Memphis

N/A

5*

TBD

Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City

N/A

6*

TBD

FedExForum in Memphis

N/A

7*

TBD

Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City

N/A

*If necessary.

 

Regular-Season Record and Leaders

Record: 60-22

Points Leader: Kevin Durant (28.1 PPG)

Rebounds Leader: Kevin Durant (7.9 RPG)

Assists Leader: Russell Westbrook (7.4 APG)

 

Thunder Playoff Breakdown

Biggest Strength: Offensive Firepower

Despite losing superstar point guard Russell Westbrook after Game 2 and dropping two games after taking a commanding 3-0 lead, the Thunder never wavered in their ability to put up huge amounts of points.

Over the course of those six contests, OKC averaged a whopping 105.8 points per game, including a blistering 45.0 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Even after Westbrook went down, the Thunder didn’t skip a beat. They immediately shifted the scoring load to Durant and gave more responsibility to Kevin Martin off the bench, who is now the second scoring option.

Expect the scoring output to take a slight dip against the defensive-minded Grizzlies, led by Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, but nothing so drastic that it could impact OKC’s ability to win.

 

Biggest Weakness: Russell Westbrook Injury

While Russell Westbrook’s absence wasn’t as noticeable against the Rockets, it’s certainly going to be felt against Mike Conley Jr. and the Griz.

The athletic point guard is one of Memphis’ top scorers and best set-up artist, and he’s shown a propensity for stepping up in big games. Against the Los Angeles Clippers in Round 1, the point guard averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 assists in six games.

That’s quite impressive considering Chris Paul, one of the better defensive point guards in the league, was often marking Conley.

Westbrook certainly possessed the length and athleticism to guard this former Ohio State star, but it remains to be seen if the slightly undersized Reggie Jackson or aging Derek Fisher can keep up, especially on the pick-and-roll and through switches.

 

Key Player: Kevin Durant

After sharing the scoring load for much of the last five years with Westbrook, KD is learning how to become “the man” on the fly.

He’s done admirably so far, including a 41-point outburst that also included 14 rebounds and four assists in 47 minutes in a Game 3 win.

However, with Tony Allen hounding the Durantula out on the perimeter, it’s going to be tough for the unproven passer to not only evade the defensive specialist but also find open teammates.

Houston’s roster simply didn’t have the same sort of physical, powerful, quick, defensive-minded players that OKC will have to face in the semifinals.

While Durant is great enough to score on anyone from anywhere on the floor, it’ll be interesting to see if that’s enough to get the Thunder past the Griz in Round 2.

 

Key Matchup: Marc Gasol vs. Kendrick Perkins

This series could be decided in the paint, which is something the Thunder have to be prepared for.

The physicality level is going to be much higher than it was against Houston, so expect Kendrick Perkins to see significant more time in this series. The big man played an average of 15.5 minutes per night in the first six games and didn’t contribute much statistically.

However, with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph patrolling the paint in Memphis, Serge Ibaka and Kevin Durant simply don’t have the bulk to box out and keep their man away from the boards on either end.

It’s going to take an elite effort from Perk to help eliminate one of those two forces from the equation, which will open up the lane and limit the Grizzlies' second-chance opportunities.

 

Prediction

Which team will win the series?

Submit Vote vote to see results

With Westbrook out, this series should definitely go the distance.

However, the Thunder have only been getting better in the days since the superstar point guard tore his meniscus, proving that this resilient bunch can adapt to anything.

Expect OKC to advance to the Western Conference Finals and defend their title after seven extremely physical, tough, up-and-down contests.

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