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NBA Playoffs 2011: Can Memphis Grizzlies Continue Playoff Run Against Thunder?

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NBA Playoffs 2011: Can Memphis Grizzlies Continue Playoff Run Against Thunder?
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Memphis Grizzlies shocked the world with their first round upset win over the heavily favored San Antonio Spurs. Apparently the Grizzlies knew something nobody else did, as they intentionally rested players in the final games of the regular season when they still had the chance to move up from the No. 8 spot to No. 7 and even No. 6.  They wanted the Spurs and they showed why.

There is no doubt Memphis is a talented team and surely their series win was not as mind blowing as the Warriors over the Mavericks a few seasons ago. The question is, can Memphis upset the Thunder, a team many believe is the favorite to come out of the West?

Outside of Tennessee, no one is likely giving Memphis much of a chance at taking down the Thunder. However, during the regular season, the Grizzlies did take three out of four from the Thunder. All four games were decided by an average of just six points per game, including one that went to overtime.

The key to the series will be Zach Randolph. Randolph was unstoppable in the fourth quarter of the series clincher against the Spurs and during the regular season against Oklahoma, he averaged 27 points per game, including two 31-point outbursts. Not only did Randolph light up the scoreboard, he did it on 58 percent shooting.

So, can the Grizzlies really beat the Thunder in a seven game series? The answer is yes, but Randolph will have to continue his torrid pace, and the Grizzlies will have to find a way to slow down either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook.

Series Prediction: Thunder in 7.

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