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Thunder, Grizzlies have youth on rise in West

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 8:27 a.m. MDT

Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) leaves the court after the Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Friday, April 29, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Randolph scored 31 points as the Grizzlies won 99-91 to win the series 4-2.  (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press) Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph (50) leaves the court after the Grizzlies beat the San Antonio Spurs in Game 6 of a first-round NBA basketball series on Friday, April 29, 2011, in Memphis, Tenn. Randolph scored 31 points as the Grizzlies won 99-91 to win the series 4-2. (Mark Humphrey, Associated Press)

OKLAHOMA CITY — The new kids in town are trying to take over the Western Conference.

The Memphis Grizzlies already knocked out the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and will now face the Oklahoma City Thunder in a series that ensures one of the NBA's rising young teams will make it to the conference finals.

The Thunder and Grizzlies were the league's two youngest teams at the start of last season, then improved their win totals more than any other teams. That rapid ascent has carried both into the second round of the playoffs, with Game 1 on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Each team must find a way to slow down the other's superstar. Zach Randolph averaged 26.5 points and 13 rebounds against the Thunder in the regular season.

NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant needed a 40-point performance to get Oklahoma City its only win in the four-game regular-season series.

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