Grizzlies Thunder Odds
The Memphis Grizzlies (7-3) have turned up the pressure on the defending Western Conference champions, the Oklahoma City Thunder (5-5) heading into play Wednesday night. Game Five of the best of seven series tips off at 9:30 pm ET from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and will be televised nationally on TNT. Oklahoma City is currently favored by 4 points with the over/under set at 185 points.
The Grizzlies showed their tenacity and grit, refusing to fold when the Thunder opened up a double digit lead as they rallied to claim a 103-97 overtime victory Monday night to remain unbeaten at home in the postseason. In addition, Memphis took a 3-1 series lead and now sit one victory away from the first Western Conference Finals appearance in franchise history.
Mike Conley led four Grizzlies in double figures with 24 points as he continues to evolve into an elite point guard. Marc Gasol (11 rebounds) and Zach Randolph (12 rebounds) each scored 23 points as part of their double-doubles while Tony Allen finished with 10 for Memphis. The Grizzlies shot 40.4 percent from the field, including 6 of 17 from three point range but made up for that from the foul line, where they hit 25 of 29 attempts. Memphis won the points in the paint battle 44-30, making up for being outscored 12-0 on fast break points. The Grizzlies also forced 15 Oklahoma City turnovers while committing just seven of their own.
The Grizzlies are 8th in scoring offense, averaging 98.1 points per game. Gasol leads four Grizzlies in double figures, averaging 19.1 points along with 8 rebounds per game. Randolph averages 18.9 points and a team-high 8.8 rebounds per game, Conley contributes 18.1 points and a team high 7.3 assists per night and Tony Allen puts in 11.1 points a game along with his solid defense. Memphis is 7th among playoff teams, knocking down 43.9 percent of their shots from the field but they’re 9th in field goal defense, as opponents have connected on 44.2 percent of their shots.
Ed Davis, Darrell Arthur, Tayshaun Prince, Austin Daye, Quincy Poindexter and Keyon Dooling all need to play closer to their regular season numbers if the Grizzlies are going to compete with the fast paced Thunder in this series. Memphis is currently 5th among playoff teams, allowing 93.2 points per game, nearly four points a game over their regular season average, which led the league.
The Thunder seemed poised to knot the series at two games apiece, in the process stealing back home court advantage, when they jumped to a 17 point lead in the first half Monday night. Unfortunately, that was their high water mark; they eventually came back to earth and ended up dropping a 103-97 overtime decision to the Grizzlies, leaving the defending Western Conference champions in a 3-1 hole.
As has been the case all postseason long, Kevin Durant led five Oklahoma City players in double figures with 27 points. He actually had help from his supporting cast in this one: Kevin Martin scored 18 off the bench, Serge Ibaka (17 points, 14 rebounds, 3 blocks) had a double-double, Reggie Jackson scored 15 while handing out eight assists and even Nick Collison got into the act with 10 points. Oklahoma City shot 43 percent from the floor, 9 of 20 from three point range and drained 20 of 22 free throws but it wasn’t enough to put away Memphis. The Thunder simply ran out of steam, scoring just three points in the overtime.
The Thunder is 5th in scoring offense in the postseason, averaging 99.9 points per game. They rank 11th in field goal percentage, knocking down 43.3 percent of their attempts from the floor. In addition, they rank 2nd in three point field goal percentage (36 percent) and 2nd in free throw percentage, converting 84.4 percent from the charity stripe.
Durant leads five Oklahoma City players averaging double figures in the postseason with a 31.8 point per game average along with a team-high 9.1 rebounds. Westbrook was scoring 24 points while leading the team in assists (7) and steals (3) per game. Kevin Martin is scoring 14.4 points a game off the bench, Jackson contributes 13.7 now that he sees meaningful time and Ibaka has been effective in the low block, averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3 blocks a game. If the Thunder can get production from Derek Fisher, Kendrick Perkins, Thabo Sefolosha and Collison, it will make life difficult for the Grizzlies.
Head to Head Matchup
The two teams have met once previously in the postseason. That series came in the 2011 Western Conference semifinals, where the Thunder prevailed in seven games, taking a 105-90 win in the decisive contest to move on to the Western Conference Finals. Oklahoma City leads the regular season series, 47-20 and 1-0 in series victories with Memphis holding a slim 6-5 edge in games won.
The Thunder clearly have their backs against the wall; one more loss and the offseason beckons, full of questions that more than likely lack answers at this point in time. With that said, the resolve of Oklahoma City is something that cannot be questioned. Scott Brooks won’t have to say much to get Durant and company fired up for this game knowing their season is on the line. Look for the Thunder to win this one, covering the line and sending the series back to Memphis for a Game Six, with the number coming in slightly over the 185 mark.