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Can Oklahoma City Win Title without Their Star Point Guard?



The Oklahoma City Thunder are struggling to stay afloat without their All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook after two games against the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs. And they can only go so far as superstar Kevin Durant will take them.

The Thunder haven’t played up to their usual game since the explosive star went down with a season-ending injury. The team has averaged well below their season average in points (-7 point average) and its been a bit of a learning curve ever since.

Backup point guard Reggie Evans has taken up the bulk of Westbrook’s minutes in his absence. At 6-foot-3 and 208 pounds, he doesn’t possess the quickness and elite athleticism as the All-Star, but he is as close of a clone as the Thunder have. Through six games, he’s increased his statistical percentages a bit. His three-point percentage has jumped from 22.3 percent to a respectable 30.3 percent in the postseason and he’s beginning to finish at the rim with more confidence.

While he isn’t spectacular, he’s still averaging 15.2 points per game. But his weaknesses come as a ball-handler and a decision maker. In the postseason, he’s averaging three assists on 2.2 turnovers.

The other option for the Thunder is to employ Derek Fisher in a bigger role. The 38-year0old veteran has plenty of postseason experience (240 games worth) and has five championships under his belt riding Kobe Bryant’s coattails. Unfortunately, he’s less of an option with the Thunder’s run-and-gun offense.

It doesn’t seem likely Oklahoma City can keep pace with Memphis in this series. They have too much of a well-orchestrated team and firepower at every position to let three more games slide. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are too much girth in the paint to handle while Mike Conley is as improved a point guard as you’ll find in this league.

The Thunder really don’t have much of a chance against the Grizzlies in the second round of the playoffs unless Durant can rattle off 40+ points per game and come up clutch with Game 1-like heroics.

Interested in getting in on the action? See the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies odds right here on Betting Sports.

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