San Antonio is poised to put the Grizzlies to sleep with a series-winning victory in Memphis on Thursday night. Let’s review the NBA odds in this playoff matchup and discuss whether the Spurs can get the job done.
The home court advantage has meant everything in this series and Thursday night the venue shifts back to Memphis. Consider the results in the previous five games with the home team in CAPS.
Game 1 - SAN ANTONIO 111 Memphis 82 (Spurs -9 Cover)
Game 2 - SAN ANTONIO 96Memphis 82 (Spurs -10 ½ Cover)
Game 3 – MEMPHIS 105San Antonio 94 (Grizzlies + 3 ½ Cover)
Game 4 – MEMPHIS 110San Antonio 108 (Grizzlies +5 Cover)
Game 5 – SAN ANTONIO 116 Memphis 103 (Spurs -10 ½ Cover)
You don’t have to be a trends analyst to detect a pattern. Home teams have not only won but covered the number in all five playoff games. If you were bullish on this trend from the onset and included the home team throughout the series in your NBA picks then you are flush with cash. The question we have on Thursday night is whether or not this trend will continue?
During the regular season, these clubs split their season series at two games apiece but the Grizzlies covered all four games. Although the win/loss pattern has remained the same in the postseason, it should be noted that the Spurs put the pedal to the metal at home with three double-digit victories over the doggedly determined Grizzlies. But at some point, the more talented team reviews game tape and analyzes why the outcomes are so markedly different from home versus away against a particular team.
I believe we are seeing that now as San Antonio came within three points of taking Game 4 in Memphis after getting soundly defeated the previous game by double digits. In Game 5 the Spurs blitzed the Memphis defense and scored a series high 116 points. Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points in the Game 5 victory and has now scored in double digits in 25 consecutive playoff games which are the most since Tim Duncan had 26 from 2011-2013. Leonard will continue his streak on Thursday night but the wild card is Manu Ginobili whose grit and determination in Tuesday night’s contest ignited the Spurs. Ginobili scored 10 points, three assists, and three steals in just 18 minutes but his physical play set the tone.
The NBA oddsmakers are installing the Spurs as a familiar four-point road favorite. We have seen this before in the two previous games in Memphis. But the fact that San Antonio closed the gap significantly between their Game 3 and Game 4 loss coupled with their blowout of Memphis on Tuesday night gives me a reason to believe they will not only end the series Thursday night but cover the number as well.