Conley down; Grizzlies out?
Mike Conley went down with a hamstring injury at home in Game 6, and the Grizzlies never recovered. He tried to come back into the game in the 4th quarter, but he left permanently with a little less than nine minutes to go in a game that was out on control long before that. Now head coach, Dave Joerger is “hoping,” Conley can play in Game 7.
This has made the NBA Odds largely in favor of the Thunder in Game 7, as they are an -8 favorite, with a total of 185. Conley reportedly said after the game that he is playing in Game 7, and although it would surprise me to see him miss this game altogether, it would not surprise me to see him severely limited. Conley has not only been the glue holding this offense together the entire series, he has also been a very underrated defender against Russell Westbrook, who despite shooting 9-21 on Thursday had his best shooting day of the series that night too.
This might just doom the Grizzlies ATS, but who knows, Conley could have a Tony Parker-like comeback in Game 7 on the road. However with all this being said, the spread is off limits for everyone. Unless you’re banking on a huge Conley comeback, I’d lay off. Instead the total of 185 once again is too low, and after cashing the over in Games 5 and 6, I am ready for a three-peat on Saturday.
The Sharp Pick
The over has now cashed I four of the last five games in this series, and for the Thunder, four of their last five home games have cashed the over. If Conley can’t be effective here, the Grizzlies will have to turn to Beno Udrih, who is wildly underrated on offense, and wildly ineffective on defense. If he is forced to play big minutes defending Westbrook, you might as well give OKC the game. The big men from Memphis have been the driving force for the Grizzlies, but if Conley is not out there for 35 minutes Saturday, Memphis is not winning.
However I don’t think the Grizzlies’ offense will take a huge dip, even if Conley misses the game. Like I mentioned above, most of the Grizzlies’ offense from the point guard position has been Conley making open shots and get the ball down low. Even though with Udrih you lose quickness and some of the ability to break down the defense off the dribble, Udrih can shoot the ball, and at 185 this total is undervaluing the Memphis offense for the third straight game this series. I am obviously banking on Conley not being as effective with this pick, but even if he is, the over has a lot of value once again.
Kevin Durant predictably had a big game in Game 6, and I expect nothing less in Game 7. He and Westbrook might silence the doubters (myself somewhat included) at home on Saturday, and if they do, I see the over as having the most value of any play on this game. Even if Conley comes back and is solid for the Grizzlies, he won’t be 100%, and that should hurt his defense more than his offense.
My Pick: OVER 185[gameodds]5/285129/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]