NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 21, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Apr. 21, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Every day during the NBA Playoffs, LT Profits Sports seeks that one single playoff play that has the best chance of cashing. Here is their Playoff Play of the Day Monday.

The seventh seeded team in the Western Conference looks to even up its series Monday night when those Memphis Grizzles (50-33, 23-19 away) again pay a visit to the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (60-23, 35-7 home) at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Memphis as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with positive odds of +102.

The Thunder drew first blood in this series by riding a hot first half to a 100-86 victory in Game 1 Saturday, although the Grizzlies made things interesting to start the second half, cutting what was once a 25-point deficit down to four by the end of the third quarter. The Grizzlies ran out of gas though after being run off the court in the first half, and were thus outscored 31-21 over the final stanza.

The Grizzlies will be in trouble in this series if they allowed the Thunder to push the pace like they did in the first 24 minutes of Game 1 leading to a 56-34 Oklahoma City halftime lead, but Memphis was able to slow the pace in the third quarter as is its wont to get back in the game, and we feel that the Grizzlies will do their best to slow this game to a crawl right from the start here in Game 2 while in desperation mode.

The fact that Memphis was able to get back in the game after falling so far beyond at such a difficult road venue like Chesapeake Arena where the Thunder went 34-7 during the regular season can certainly be viewed as a positive sign, and the Grizzlies may be feeling a case of déjà vu after last year’s playoffs.

Remember that the Grizzlies were run out of the Staples Center in Game 1 of the opening round by the Clippers and then covered the next five games with the last four being outright wins to finish off a series upset. Well, we now expect another Memphis cover in Game 2 after weathering that Game 1 storm in enemy territory fairly well, except this time an outright upset would not at all be surprising to us.

Remember that the Grizzlies are at their best when they are methodical offensively like they were in the third quarter Saturday, only running when the opportunities presented themselves. This is a team that finished dead last in the NBA in pace rating this season after finishing second to last in that category last year.

Nothing has changed for the Grizzlies stylistically under first-year coach David Joerger, and that plodding style got Memphis to the Western Conference Finals last May under Lionel Hollins.

The Thunder would much prefer to press the pace again, but even if the Grizzlies successfully slow this game down, Oklahoma City has proven on several occasions this season that it is capable of winning a half-court style game. Thus, the Thunder will probably not get too out of control in trying to force the issue if the fast-breaks just are not there vs. a Memphis defense that ranked third in the NBA in points allowed.

The significance of that is this might be a low-scoring game, not unlike Game 1 with the 186 total points, except this time not as one-sided if Memphis is successful in slowing the pace from the outset.

Add in the normal desperation that sets in after losing Game 1 and the points look to be worth taking with Memphis in a possible upset in Game 2 in Oklahoma on Monday.


NBA Pick: Grizzlies +7 (+102)

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