The second round of the NBA playoffs tipped off Sunday and if it's any indication as to how it's going to go down, then we're in for one hell of a ride. The Memphis Grizzlies showed they weren't just a fluke when they toppled San Antonio with a decisive 114-101 win over the talented Oklahoma City Thunder while the Miami Heat served notice to the Boston Celtics that they aren't just going to lay down and lose with a 99-90 win.
For Memphis, it was the combined play of Mark Gasol and the emerging-elite Zach Randolph that powered the Grizzlies to their upset road win over the Thunder. Gasol contributed 20 points and 13 boards while Randolph dominated the game with a career high 34 points and 10 rebounds. During the season, the duo only topped the 20 point barrier together once but this postseason they have done it twice already, in both game 1's of the two series, for the pivotal early series lead.
"I think we always try to do that. The thing is that it's not always possible," Gasol said. "We always try to come out and execute and play the right way. It's not always possible. Teams are going to adjust, and they're going to do something different.
"We've got to keep being hungry, keep being unselfish offensively and defensively and keep playing the right way."
Down in Miami, it was the Heat making things warm for a rusty Boston team that was unprepared for the intensity that was sent their way. Miami was led by Dwayne Wade, who put up 38 points, and James Jones, who put up 25 surprising points in a rare contribution from the Heat's bench. The sharpshooting and intensity of Wade took the Celtics by surprise early and they were never able to recover.
"We're going to have to fight for every inch, every game we get," Wade said. "Right now, we won Game 1. We're supposed to. We'll go back and focus on winning Game 2. We're at home, we have home-court advantage. They're just trying to come in and steal one like they've done in the past. So it's our job to come out with the same mentality in the next one."
The superb performance by Wade allowed LeBron James to be a quit contributor, he had 22 points, 6 boards and 5 assists for the Heat, thus keeping him away from the need to make any late game heroics… something he's had problems with in the past.
Boston, well rested after their first round sweep of the Knicks, came out lethargic and wasn't able to find the energy to overcome the Heats early spurt. Weak play by Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett as well as a late ejection of Paul Pierce doomed the Celtics in game 1.
"There's so many things we need to do to get better," The Celtics Ray Allen said. "I think everybody in that locker room knows that, just from a small conversation we just had."
They will get their chance again Tuesday night along with Oklahoma City.
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