Bet On The NBA – Two Western Conference Battles Far More Contentious Than Many Expected
The two Western Conference semifinal series have become a lot more heated and feisty than many basketball pundits had a right to expect. Could Memphis and Dallas both advance?
(8) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (4) Oklahoma City Thunder – Series tied, 1-1
With NBA betting experts recalibrating how to handle the Western Conference playoffs after the third eight-over-one upset in league history, it seems that the Memphis Grizzlies have the best chance of becoming the first number eight seed to reach the Western Conference finals. Memphis rolled to a 114-101 win in Game 1 of this series before getting decked in Game 2 by a deceptively small 111-102 margin. Memphis won Game 1 because its interior duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol ran wild, combining for 54 points and 23 rebounds. The Grizzlies dominated in the paint and made Oklahoma City’s tandem of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins look very small by comparison. Game 2 unfolded according to the Thunder’s liking. Randolph and Gasol combined for just 28 points and 19 boards, thereby enabling Oklahoma City’s huge advantage on the wings to emerge. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden all scored over 20 points on the perimeter to devastate the Grizzlies’ inferior guards and small forwards. As the series progresses, the key is plain enough: Randolph and Gasol must dominate in the lane to negate Oklahoma City’s supremacy on the perimeter.
(3) Dallas Mavericks vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers - Mavericks lead series, 1-0
While some people were following MLB baseball betting trends and others were riveted to the NHL playoffs, most sports betting gurus are tracking the sexier half of the NBA’s Western Conference playoff bracket. With Game 2 of this series being played tonight in Los Angeles, one would think that the two-time defending champions will respond against Dallas. On Monday night in Game 1, though, they simply gave away early control of this second-round series. The Mavericks, a team prone to lulls and lapses, endured two ugly midgame stretches and fell behind by 16 points in the third quarter on the road at Staples Center in the City of Angels. Yet, the Lakers – usually a team that puts the boot on the throats of opponents when they’re down – allowed the third-seeded Mavericks to get off the canvas and land some punches. Dirk Nowitzki did his thing, hitting fade-away jumpers when anyone other than Lamar Odom guarded him down the stretch. The big German will be a load to handle for any Laker other than the long and active Odom, who seems to know how to make Nowitzki particularly uncomfortable. In the final six minutes, the game became an even-steven, back-and-forth scramble, but because of an incredibly dumb foul by L.A.’s Pau Gasol in the final 30 seconds when the Lakers were over the team-foul limit, Nowitzki was able to hit two foul shots and give Dallas the lead. When the Lakers produced a turnover and then a missed Kobe Bryant jumper on their last two possessions, the Mavericks had truly stolen a game in which they were outplayed for most of the night. The Lakers should still be considered the favorite in this series, but if they continue to play with fire, Dallas does have the length which can minimize the interior strength of the two-time defending champions.