Fresh off an upset of the top-seeded Spurs, can Memphis ride that momentum and take down the Zombie Sonics? We'll find out soon enough as the Western Conference semi-final match-up between 8th seeded Memphis and the fourth seeded Blunder tips off on Sunday. The biggest win in franchise history was also their first playoff series win for the team that originated in Vancouver before moving east. Ironically, they are matched up in the second round against the other team from the Northwest that was hijacked and hauled away, the Seattle Supersonics.
Memphis, which has come out of nowhere to suddenly become the hottest team in the playoffs, won the regular season series against the Blunder, 3-1. The teams match up fairly evenly; both are young and athletic. The Blunder made a great acquisition by picking up Kendrick Perkins from the Celtics to provide much-needed muscle in the paint. He’ll be tasked with minimizing Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph's offense down low. Both came up huge in the San Antonio series with Randolph making several clutch shots and free throws down the stretch, a remarkable feat for a big man.
The Blunder have two-time NBA scoring champ Kevin Durant leading the offense. He averaged 32 ppg vs. Denver and will likely be just as unstoppable in this series.
This is the second consecutive playoff appearance for the Blunder since the hijacking from Seattle (where they won their only world championship) and this gives them an edge in experience, which is ironic considering they are among the youngest, albeit most talented, teams in the league. That said, Memphis has momentum and is playing with no fear. Embracing the underdog role - the Grizz have nothing to lose and that can often trump talent in the playoffs. The pressure is now on the Blunder to perform - the first time they have had to face expectations since the move. This should be a great and very hard fought series.
I am taking the (former Vancouver)n Grizzlies to knock off the Zombie Sonics in 6 games and shock the world and advance to the Western Conference Finals...probably against the Lakers.