Grizzlies Thunder Odds

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The seventh seeded Memphis Grizzlies (0-0) will travel to face the second seeded Oklahoma City Thunder (0-0) in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs Saturday night. The game tips off at 9:30 pm ET from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Oklahoma City is currently a 7 point favorite with the over/under set at 192.5 points.

Why Memphis Will Cover

The Grizzlies closed the season with five straight victories and clinched the seventh seed in the West with a 106-105 overtime win over the Mavericks at home Wednesday night. Mike Conley hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds to go in the extra session to give Memphis the win. Zach Randolph led five players in double figures with 27 points and 14 rebounds in the win. Conley added 22 points, Marc Gasol had 19 points with nine rebounds plus nine assists, Tony Allen had 13 off the bench and Courtney Lee chipped in 11. Memphis shot 48.9 percent from the floor, 5 of 20 from three point range, 15 of 25 at the line and won the rebounding battle 48-39 with 20 boards coming on the offensive glass.

Memphis had their share of problems on the offensive end of the floor as they finished the season 27th in the league with an average of 96.1 points per game on the season. The Grizzlies are 19th in the league with 42.4 rebounds per contest while they are 14th in assists by handing out 21.9 per game on the season. Four Grizzlies averaged in double figures on the season, led by Randolph’s 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. Conley contributes 17.2 points with a team high 6 assists a night, Gasol chipped in 14.6 points with 7.2 rebounds a night while Lee put in 11 points a night in 49 games for Memphis; he averaged 9.6 points a game on the season. Memphis had those struggles despite finishing seventh in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 46.4 percent from the floor as a team. The Grizzlies aren’t a perimeter oriented team as they finished the season last in three point field goals made (4.9) and attempted (14) per game; they finished tied for 19th in the league in three point shooting as they hit 35.3 percent from beyond the arc.

The Grizzlies have a deep bench of role players to draw upon to give their starters a breather. Memphis can go to Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, Nick Calathes, Mike Miller, James Johnson, Jon Leuer and Kosta Koufos to step in and make plays to give their starters a breather. The Grizzlies are a solid defensive team as they finished the season 3rd in the league in scoring defense as opponents were held to 94.6 points per game on the season. Memphis ended the season tied for 9th in the league in field goal percentage defense as opponents were held to 45 percent shooting. The Grizzlies were 12th as they allowed 7.5 three point field goals per contest while they were tied for 11th in three point field goal percentage defense; opponents hit 35.5 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.

Why Oklahoma City Will Cover

The Thunder clinched the second seed in the Western Conference thanks to their 112-111 win over the Pistons Wednesday night in the regular season finale. Oklahoma City rallied from a 10 point fourth quarter deficit. Kevin Durant hit the game winning basket on a dunk with 16.5 seconds to go; he led four Thunder players in double figures with 42 points. Russell Westbrook scored 22 points, dished out eight assists, grabbed six rebounds while collecting six steals, Reggie Jackson added 15 off the bench and Serge Ibaka finished with 10 points plus 15 rebounds in the win. Oklahoma City shot 44.2 percent from the floor, 5 of 23 from three point range, won the rebounding battle 49-31 and knocked down 31 of 41 free throws in the victory.

Oklahoma City finished the regular season 5th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 106.2 points per game on the season. The Thunder ended up 7th in the league in rebounding with 44.7 per game while they were 13th in the league in assists as they hand out 21.9 per game. Durant led four Thunder players in double figures with a league leading 32 points per game along with 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game. Westbrook adds 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds along with team highs in assists (6.9) and steals (1.91) per contest. Ibaka contributed 15.1 points with team highs in rebounds (8.8) and blocks (2.7); he was second in the league in that category. Jackson put up 13.1 points and 4.1 assists per game; he did a solid job filling in for Westbrook. Oklahoma City was 6th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 47.1 percent from the floor. The Thunder was tied for 14th with 8.1 three point field goals per game on the season while they finished 14th in the league as they hit 36.1 percent from beyond the arc on the season.

Scott Brooks goes to Nick Collison, Jackson, Derek Fisher, Jeremy Lamb, Caron Butler and Perry Jones off the bench to put together meaningful minutes and give the starters a breather. Defensively, the Thunder ended the regular season 12th in the league as they allow 99.8 points per game on the season. Oklahoma City finished the regular season third in the league in field goal percentage defense as they allowed opponents to shoot 43.6 percent from the floor. The Thunder struggled in stopping perimeter shooting as they were 26th in the league, allowing 8.6 three point field goals per game while ranking 14th in the league as opponents shoot 35.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Head to Head Matchup

The teams have split two playoff series in their history with the Grizzlies holding a 7-5 advantage in games won during the postseason. In the last meeting between the clubs in the playoffs, the Grizzlies knocked off Oklahoma City four games to one in the 2013 Western Conference semifinals. Oklahoma City holds a 50-21 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the two teams.

Prediction

The Grizzles closed out the season on a roll when their playoff hopes were on the line. Facing an Oklahoma City team that had their number in the regular season will make for a daunting task, especially playing on the road. Memphis will have to play their A game and hope that the Thunder struggles during the game. It won’t work as Durant and Westbrook are enough to lead the Thunder to victory though Memphis will cover the line in this one. Grizzlies cover. Thunder 103-97

Sportsbook.ag
About the Author: Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.
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