NBA Picks: Can Trail Blazers Avoid Getting Swept by Grizzlies?

David Lawrence

Sunday, April 26, 2015 4:05 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 26, 2015 4:05 PM UTC

Will the Portland Trail Blazers do as Milwaukee did against Chicago, and finally land a win against the Memphis Grizzlies in their Playoff Series? Which team will cash on the NBA betting lines?

The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They are owning this series, and what’s more is that they’re owning it in every way possible. The biggest detail of this series is that Memphis has been able to win in different styles. The first two games were all about Memphis’ defense smothering Portland and giving the Blazers very little chance to execute their offense, swamping Damian Lillard and preventing him from feeling comfortable. The Blazers missed tons of shots and could never find a foothold in either of the first two games in Memphis, which were pure blowouts.

Game 3 on Saturday night in Portland was different. The Blazers scored 109 points, and bettors would have had to think that if Portland scored 109 points against Memphis, the turnaround would have translated into a Blazer victory. However, Memphis won relatively easily, handling a late push by Portland for a six-point win made not-so-dramatic by steady free throw shooting in the final 90 seconds of regulation time. Memphis was able to win with its offense. Marc Gasol had 25 points, which shouldn’t surprise too many people. The unexpectedly great performances for the Grizzlies came from Courtney Lee, who scored 20, and Nick Calathes, a guard who filled in for the injured Beno Udrih and scored 13 points off the bench. The Grizzlies are winning with defense and with offense in this series, with well-known starters and obscure reserve players. They’re beating Portland at home and now on the road. It’s so hard for Portland to break through, and what adds to the Blazers’ frustrations is that while LaMarcus Aldridge scored well in Games 1 and 2, he stunk in Game 3, hitting just 6 of 18 shots. Lillard actually played well in Game 3, hitting 9 of 17 and scoring 22 points. Yet, it wasn’t enough because of Aldridge’s inefficient night. Memphis just has Portland cornered, and the Blazers can’t find any way out.

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The Portland Trail Blazers Can Win Because…
They have reason to believe that they can score enough to beat Memphis’ defense. Portland played really well on offense in Game 3, because role players who struggled in the first two games in Memphis came alive when the series shifted to Oregon. Playing at home is the biggest source of help for role players in the playoffs. The energy of a home crowd and a familiar shooting environment gives them the boost they need to play well.

C.J. McCollum needs to be able to score big for Portland to solve Memphis’ defense, and in Game 3, he did just that, scoring 26 points on 8 of 14 shooting plus 8 of 9 free throw shooting. If McCollum plays like this again, Portland should score well over 100 points again, and if Portland scores well over 100 points again, Memphis might not get a 20-point game from Courtney Lee. The Grizzlies might also not have Mike Conley active for this game, because he got hit in the face in the second half of Game 3 and had to go to an area medical facility for further attention. Conley’s status for Game 4 is unclear, but if he’s not playing, that’s a huge boost for Portland.


The Conley injury situation is unresolved at the moment and we’re not sure about backup Beno Udrih either. But if either one of them play, then this series is probably over on Monday night. If both are out, take under with your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Grizzlies +2 OR under at Pinnacle

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