This won’t be easy. They must now face the always tough San Antonio Spurs (29-11) on the road.
Tip-off is scheduled for Wednesday, 8:30 pm ET at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Gay to Play?
While I write this, the NBA betting odds are still unavailable.
Manu Ginobili will be out for the next 2 weeks, the status of Memphis forward Rudy Gay is in question. According to rotoworld.com, Gay will play tonight. Until the odds actually come out, I’ll venture a guess and say that the Spurs are a moderate favorite of anywhere from 6 to 9 points.
If Memphis elected to not play Rudy Gay, the Spurs would be a double digit favorite in which Gay is the leading scorer for the Griz at 17.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
A Bounce back effort or loss of confidence?
Losing to the Los Angeles Clippers is no crime because the Clippers are 30-9 on the season, just a half game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference.
Memphis managed just 73 points on 30% shooting from the field, but we must remember that Rudy Gay was unable to play due to personal reasons. Look for the Grizzlies to return to their old form against the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies have played well on the road at 10-7 and have a psychological edge over the Spurs in which they’ve dominated San Antonio in the playoffs the past couple of seasons.
The Gasol Game
Brothers Pau and Marc Gasol have each had a poor first half of the 2012-2013 NBA season. With Zach Randolph being back in the lineup, Marc Gasol isn’t getting the opportunities that he did last season. Gasol has also not taken advantage of the opportunities that he’s been allotted. He’s had 4 poor shooting games in a row in which he’s 15 of 44 from the field and averaging 9.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Memphis will only get so far in the post season if Marc Gasol continues to play like this. It doesn’t get much easier tonight for our NBA betting as he matches up against one of the best big men in NBA history in Tim Duncan.
Going through the motions
I wonder half the time, if the San Antonio Spurs take these games seriously. The Spurs are an experienced and talented team with a great coach in Gregg Poppovich. If you went player for player on each roster and compared talent, the Spurs wouldn’t be near the top. Their team chemistry and confidence are what makes them one of the best teams in the NBA. All this team knows how to do is win and they don’t get too mentally high or low. That said, it does help to have Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Tim Duncan on your squad.
The Big Fundamental
This and many other identities such as the fountain of youth could be given to Tim Duncan. There’s a slight drop off in Duncan since his prime, but if he needed to, he could still be a 20-10 man. Duncan will go down in the NBA as one of the best players ever not only due to his skill, it’s due in part to his intellect on the court.
He’s played with the best, beaten the best, and has been labeled the best. Why should he be concerned about facing Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph, who has been shipped off to several teams despite his great numbers?
In his last 5 games, Duncan has averaged just 12.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 4.2 blocks. His job is to play solid defense and come up with timely plays when the Spurs are lacking that star-like presence on the court. Look for Duncan to do what’s needed to win the game.
I’m expecting Rudy Gay to play and that will be a huge confidence boost for the Grizzlies. Look for the Spurs to win quite easily. Memphis is a very good team but hasn’t played their best basketball as of late.
NBA Picks: Spurs (I would take San Antonio anywhere up until an 8 point favorite)
Good luck hitting all of those sports picks this Wednesday!