Grizzly Bear Defense
OKC has shown they are the softer team in this series, as the Grizzlies have bullied them and hassled them into a position where their playoff hopes may be gone after round one. The NBA Odds have Memphis as a +3 home underdog in this elimination game, and the total sits at 185 points.
It is extremely tempting to take points with the Grizzlies here, (I could back that pick in a heartbeat) but for my official play for this game I see the total having a lot more value, and less volatility sitting at 185.
At 185, this total is the lowest of this series, and even though both of these teams will be stepping up their defense in this win or go home game for the Thunder, 185 points is pretty low for the mismatches that have been exploited in this series offensively. The Thunder can’t just pick one or two guys to slow down on Memphis, because they have at least three or four very balanced scorers, and three of them are bad mismatches for the Thunder.
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol are both going to get their 15-20 points in this game and there isn’t much OKC can do to stop them. Kendrick Perkins is washed up, Serge Ibaka is not big enough to defend Gasol, and Steven Adams is inexperienced. The wasteland that is and has been the Thunder frontcourt for the last three seasons is getting easier to exploit for the other teams. Even though the Grizzlies are -23 in rebounding this series, they are giving the Thunder enough issues to have command on this series.
The Sharp Pick
Although I do think the Grizzlies will come out swinging on defense at home, there has to be a point in this series where the greatness of Kevin Durant shines through. I expect him to have a big night here, (and to more importantly demand the ball from Russell Westbrook more) but that isn’t even one of the main reasons why I think the total of 185 is a great over play for our basketball picks.
The over cashed in large part to the overtime of Game 5, but a win is a win, and I am going for it again on Thursday. Three of the last four games in this series have gone over, and although this game could see both teams finish with less than 90 points, I sincerely doubt that happens with the amount of offense from both of these teams.
With OKC’s tendency to play a little worse on defense when playing on the road, I have to think the Grizzlies will get into the upper 90s here. Even if Memphis finishes with only around 95 points here, the Thunder would only have to get to 91 for the over to cash, and you have to think the Thunder will have more than 90 points in an elimination game.
My Pick: OVER 185