Insider offers a breakdown of every playoff series using an expert combination of scouting from Amin Elhassan and advanced metrics from Bradford Doolittle to answer three crucial questions. Also included are predictions from the writers and the classic Log5 formula for determining matchup probabilities.
Winning an NBA championship requires many different ingredients -- talent, chemistry, IQ, coaching, athleticism, and of course, luck. This season, luck has played a huge role in the Western Conference playoffs, mainly in the form of bad luck and a torn meniscus for Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook. The loss of Westbrook has changed the complexion of the Western Conference title race from prohibitively favoring Oklahoma City to even money for the four remaining participants, and the team with the first crack at eliminating the Thunder is the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies are fresh off avenging their first-round exit from a year ago at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, and enter the series with a deep roster capable of showing many defensive looks versus Oklahoma City. Will it be enough to advance to the conference finals?
Memphis Grizzlies (5) at OKC Thunder (1)
Western Conference playoffs