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NBA Thunder vs. Grizzlies Betting Preview

Written by Gaby Varji   
Thursday, 09 May 2013 08:42

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies Semifinals oddsThe Memphis Grizzlies do not have the best player on the floor in their Western Conference semifinal series against the Oklahoma Thunder, but they have home-court advantage now.

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 3:

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies – Saturday, May 11

At the top sportsbooks, you're probably going to see Memphis installed as the favorite for this Game on Saturday afternoon in Tennessee. The Grizzlies don’t have the best player in this series – that’s Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, who has been absolutely spectacular in the first two games, lighting up Memphis’ defense while also contributing in a substantial way as a rebounder and passer. Durant’s defense leaves something to be desired, but that can certainly be forgiven when one realizes how consistent and reliable he is as a crunch-time scorer. Durant very nearly led Oklahoma City to a 2-0 lead in this series on Tuesday night, but Memphis found answers in the fourth quarter to even the series at 1-1.

 

If you scour various 5dimes reviews during an NBA season, you will know that inside-outside balance is a core key to playoff success. The online sports betting considerations in play here are evident, and they point to a Memphis victory. While Oklahoma City has Durant, the Thunder – without injured point guard Russell Westbrook – have a harder time getting into the paint and breaking down Memphis’ defense. Durant is a lethal jump shooter, and he can take the ball to the rim at times, but Westbrook was particularly effective at using dribble penetration to get the opposing defense to collapse. With him out of the lineup, so much of the burden falls on Durant to create offense, and while teammate Derek Fisher had a great shooting night in Game 2, Oklahoma City is now a much more imbalanced team on offense. Its key acquisition from a few seasons ago, center Kendrick Perkins, is an overall liability. He is not giving Oklahoma City the interior scoring the Thunder had hoped for when they made the deal to bring Perkins from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Jeff Green. Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks has to be willing to use Nick Collison as his primary big man from now on in this series.

A pay per head bookie who takes business on this contest will realize that whereas Oklahoma City cannot get very many points in the paint, even though its perimeter game is still very formidable thanks to Durant, Memphis is much more balanced. The Grizzlies own the two best interior players in the series, forward Zach Randolph and center Marc Gasol. The two work together to give Memphis a maximum of muscle on the boards and an abundance of power in the low post. Randolph and Gasol are also skilled shotmakers who can hit the mid-range jump shot and play over the top of smaller or less able defenders. The concern for Memphis throughout the past few seasons has been the team’s ability to find proven perimeter scoring, and more specifically, to get enough jump shooting to keep defenses honest. Memphis has needed perimeter shooting so that it could prevent its foes from packing the paint to double-team or at least crowd Gasol and Randolph. In Game 2 of this series on Tuesday night, Memphis point guard Mike Conley answered the call for his team. Conley hit multiple three-point baskets in timely moments to push the Grizzlies over the finish line. Memphis now has a short-handed Oklahoma City at home for Game 3. It would be surprising if the Grizzlies lost control of this series. They have the favorable matchups and are playing better at the moment. Oklahoma City is in huge trouble.

 
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