Reggie Jackson went crazy in Memphis for Game 4, and his huge night led the Thunder to a victory. Now for Game 5, the NBA Odds have the Thunder as big -6 favorites at home, with a total of 186 ½. Even though it is tempting to take points in this one, I am not sold on either team ATS. However the total has been kind to us this postseason, and I think this one might be another example of an undervalued total.
At 186½, this is the lowest total of the series, and even though the two teams have had plenty of rest in between Games 4 and 5, I still think offense could be the name of the game. The Grizzlies have a great road defense, but so far in this series, the two games in OKC were, or almost were higher scoring games.
Grizzlies crapped the bed offensively in Game 1 or that one would have gone 'over', and of course Game 2 was immensely high scoring. While I doubt we see
Game 2 all over again, there is a solid chance this total goes 'over' with your NBA picks. While both
teams will be buckling down, 186½ is simply too low for these two teams. The
Grizzlies’ defense is being overvalued by the sportsbooks, while the Thunder struggles to score against Memphis, who on occasion are getting overblown. While
Kevin Durant is having some issues in the last few games with shooting the basketball, I think he finds his rhythm and his offense at home.
The Sharp Pick
Even though the total fell 'under' in Game 4, the total has now cashed in two of the last three games in this series, as well as four of the last six for the Thunder, and three of the last five for the Grizzlies. Memphis’ road defense should be engaged nicely in this game, but you have to think that Durant is going to get going back at home. I think that will lead to not only more points from him, but it should open things up for his teammates as well. If he is shooting the ball like we all know he can, the Grizzlies are going to have a tough time stopping him. Even with Tony Allen playing fantastically on defense, the offensive super-power will break out one of these games, and I think it might be this one.
Since 2011, the Thunder are a league-leading 28-11 cashing the 'under' with two to three days off in between games, this is not just your normal regular season game. Despite the fact that it includes a lot of playoff games, I think this scenario and this year is different for OKC. Great defense wins in the playoffs, but it can always be trumped by better offense in the NBA. If Durant can knock down shots, especially three point shots in this one, I see the 'over' cruising to victory.
My Free NBA Pick: OVER 186 ½