Grizzlies have all answers
Memphis struggled some while Marc Gasol was out for over two months during the regular season with a severe knee sprain, and the Grizzlies limped through the first half of the season. It may have ruined their chances of being included in the Western Conference Title discussion, however two more wins and they will do what a lot of people thought impossible.
The NBA Odds however think the Thunder will win Game 4, as they favor Oklahoma City at -3 on the road here, with a total of 188. As an underdog this season, Memphis was only 17-19 ATS, but the fact that Gasol missed so much time in the season really inflated those numbers for the worse.
However now that they are a complete unit again, Memphis may be the best defensive team in the NBA right now, and their size and athleticism is really giving the Thunder some problems.
Tony Allen has been amazing on Kevin Durant. Even though Allen is known as one of the better lock down wing defenders in the NBA, no one thought he could do what he has done to Durant in the last two games. Durant is shooting a combined 40% from the field and 25% from the three-point line in the last two games, and Game 3 was really bad for Durant.
Not only is Allen doing well, but also the Grizzlies’ big men are playing consistent and causing the Thunder more of a headache than Allen is. The Memphis big man duo is causing headaches for the Thunder on offense and defense. Trying to defend those two guys with Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins is easier said than done. Needless to say, I think Memphis may be a great value once again ATS and on the moneyline in Game 4.
The Sharp Pick
Memphis has now taken the last two games SU and ATS, and I see them making it a third on Saturday night. At home, their defense is going to slow down Westbrook and Durant well enough, and with the Thunder’s defense playing the way it is, I doubt they can simply outscore the Grizzlies to a win.
In their last ten games, including the three playoff ones, the Thunder have given up over 102 points per game. If they allow Memphis to easily score 100 points here, they’ll find themselves in an elimination game on their home court next week. The Grizzlies are 26-4 SU this season when they score at least 100 points, and if OKC doesn’t step up their defense, I think Memphis will be able to hold the Thunder to less than 100 points.
Another storyline that’s gone slightly under reported is the job Mike Conley is doing on Westbrook. Even though he isn’t shutting him down, (much like the situation with Allen and Durant) he is canceling out Westbrook with his own offense, and the defense he has played as well. Conley has almost a 4:1 assist to turnover ratio for this series, and Westbrook can’t do anything about it. It seems like the better defensive team might have the best value for your NBA picks, and I see them winning tonight as well.
My Free NBA Pick: Grizzlies +3