Well this is unexpected. The Oklahoma City Thunder, whom many picked to go to the NBA Finals, are down 2-1 in the series against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder took the first game pretty handily, and looked like the series would be a no contest from the first quarter.
However, the Memphis Grizzlies have been able to halt the Thunder's probable skip to the 2nd round. The Grizzlies were able to steal one game in OKC, despite the Thunder sending the game into OT, and then taking the first game in Memphis, despite another overtime game.
Now, the main question for the Thunder is: What's going wrong?
Well, to start off, the Grizzlies have controlled the pace the past 2 games. OKC had 32 fast break points in game 1 compared to 33 total in games 2 and 3. In the first game, OKC was running all over Memphis and the crowd was going insane! In the second and third game, Memphis played a boring, slow, grind-it-out offense, but it was effective. Memphis was able to slow down the Thunder and control the pace - Leading to victories. For the Thunder to advance to the next round, they need to control the pace.
Finally, the Thunder's stars are playing way below their average. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are shooting a combined 42-109, 38%, in games 2 and 3. This is in large part to their adversary on Memphis - Tony Allen and the Grizzlies guards.
Allen has played unbelievable defense versus Durant in this series, and forced Durant to play unlike himself. Durant has shot 40% from the floor, 25% from three, and not been nearly efficient as usual. Of course, a major effect coming from the one and only Allen. Allen is known to be a great defender, as he has made 3 all defensive teams in the past 3 years and has forced other greats into poor shooting:
Lebron (In Playoffs): 37% from field
Paul George: 35% from field
Russell has been slowed by the entire Memphis defense, as he has not been able to get open dunks and shots on the fast break. Give credit to the Grizzlies coaching as Westbrook is not nearly as efficient in the half court.
Overall, the Thunder's best players are not playing well, and its killing OKC. Kevin Durant is their leader, but is being slowed down by Tony Allen, and for this reason, Tony Allen has been the most valuable player for Memphis in the post-season. Once Durant starts playing better, the Thunder start running more, the Grizzlies become flustered, and Durant proves he is the true MVP.