NBA Pick: NBA Playoff Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, April 19, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

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 Saturday.

Now that the NBA Playoffs have begun, defense will probably take center stage and such should be the case in the final game of the night Saturday when the seventh seeded Memphis Grizzlies (50-32, 23-18 away) pay a visit to the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23, 34-7 home) at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK at 9:35 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 191½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The Grizzlies drew the Thunder by beating the Dallas Mavericks on the final day of the regular season to earn the seventh seed, knocking the Mavericks back to eighth and into an unwanted meeting with the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs. That was critical because the Spurs swept both Memphis and Dallas during the regular season.

That is not to imply that drawing Kevin Durant and the Thunder is a walk in the park, although Oklahoma City nearly blew the two-seed when needing to rally from a double-digit deficit at home to nip the lowly Detroit Piston on the season’s final day 112-111, outscoring Detroit 33-24 in the fourth quarter to clinch the two-spot over the Los Angeles Clippers.

One thing these teams have in common is defense, although ironically it is Oklahoma City that ranks fifth in the NBA in defensive efficiency while Memphis ranks eighth. We say ironically because the Grizzlies are the team that finished third in the NBA in points against at 94.6 per game, and it was that defense that made all the difference when they clinched a playoff berth by slowing down and eliminating the high-octane Suns in Phoenix 97-91 on Monday.

The thing about Memphis though is that its defensive numbers are a bit distorted because oftentimes it does not allow many points simply because of its plodding pace. In fact, the Grizzlies finished dead last in the NBA in pace rating, which also impacted an offense that ranked 27th in points scored at just 96.1 per game. That pace does make Memphis ‘under’ friendly though and that was especially true on the road with the ‘under’ going 26-15.

The average combined total score of all Memphis road games was only 186.7 points this season, about five points less than this posted total.

The Thunder are obviously renowned for their offense and why not as they boast the leading scored in the NBA in Durant and finished fifth in the league in scoring at 106.2 points per game. However their defense that finished 12th in points against at 99.8 per game is often overlooked despite ranking third in the league in field goal percentage against at just 43.6 percent and, as mentioned earlier, fifth in defensive efficiency.

The Thunder are the exact opposite of the Grizzlies in that the reason they do not allow fewer points is simply because they play at a much faster pace. With this now being playoff basketball, look for Oklahoma City to play more of a half-court game, a style that it was also able to win with in some lower scoring games this year, such as an 86-77 triumph over these Grizzlies here at Chesapeake Arena.

Thus, go ‘under’ in Game 1 from Oklahoma City on Saturday.

[gameodds]5/264162/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Mavericks, Grizzlies ‘under’ 191½ (-110)