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Grizzlies Thunder Betting – Oklahoma City Is In For A Tough Fight

Posted by Craig Parsons on 2/6/2014 9:35:44 PM

The series has already started, so Game 1 of the NBA’s Western Conference semifinals has already shifted the way the Memphis-Oklahoma City matchup should be evaluated.

NBA Betting Overview: (8) Memphis Grizzlies vs. (4) Oklahoma City Thunder

Before this series began, the conventional wisdom was that the Oklahoma City Thunder derived a great benefit from the fact that the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies completed a first-round conquest of the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs, thereby altering the playoff bracket in the NBA.

Now, that conventional wisdom has to be questioned.

How much of a chance did Memphis have at the beginning of this series? Actually, the Grizz did have a shot at an upset – that much needs to be said. The Grizzlies appeared to be closer to the 1994 Denver Nuggets than the 2007 Golden State Warriors. What does that statement refer to? Denver was the first number eight seed to beat a top seed in the first round of the playoffs. The Nuggets then pushed the Utah Jazz to seven games in the second round of the 1994 playoffs before losing in the final tilt against John Stockton and Karl Malone. The 2007 Golden State team was the second squad to pull off an “eight-over-one” upset, but the Warriors got waxed by the Jazz in the second round in five games. It’s true that Memphis has the formidable inside presence to match Oklahoma City. Coach Lionel Hollins has convinced the Grizzlies to sell out at the defensive end of the floor, as revealed by Memphis’ ability to claim most of the loose balls in the six-game series against San Antonio, a ball club with veterans who have won multiple championships over the past decade. Memphis was not a team without a shot in this best-of-seven competition. Yet, the Grizzlies didn’t figure to be able to keep pace with Oklahoma City.

Sports betting experts thought that Memphis was supposed to offer no legitimate answer for Oklahoma City on the wings. At the point guard spot, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook possessed (and still does possess) far more quickness than his opposite number, Memphis’ Mike Conley. Moreover, Oklahoma City also bears the distinction of having the best player on the floor in this series, all-world shot-maker and crunch-time assassin Kevin Durant. Memphis forward Zach Randolph might be the equal of Durant with respect to raw production, but Durant’s identity as a closer is second to only one player in pro basketball, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Oklahoma City began this series with the ultimate hammer, and that’s something Memphis was supposed to struggle with.

After one game, maybe not.

Memphis rolled right past Oklahoma City on Sunday afternoon in Game 1. The Grizzlies breezed to a 114-101 win on the Thunder’s home court, and the contest was that lopsided. The Grizzlies destroyed the Thunder in the paint, as Memphis’ big-man combo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol combined for 54 points and 23 rebounds, while Oklahoma City’s tandem of Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka accumulated just 18 points and 17 boards between them. Memphis relentlessly pounded the offensive glass and showed Oklahoma City that its midseason moves have not yet lifted the Thunder to the level of an elite team. That remains to be proven over the rest of this series. The Thunder are inconsistent, and that’s why what might have seemed like a five-game series is now destined to go the distance. However, when all is said and done, one should still trust the Thunder to advance. Durant is hard to bet against in a series involving any team other than the Los Angeles Lakers. Moreover, it’s hard to see Perkins, who came to Oklahoma from Boston in February, getting outplayed the way he was in Game 1. The Thunder are supposed to be able to hold their own in the paint and then dominate on the perimeter. Memphis is throwing down a big challenge, but Oklahoma City should be able to get one game in Memphis and steer the series to Game 7. Then Durant will take over, ending the Grizzlies’ season and turning the thoughts of Tennesseans to MLB baseball betting experts and the latest exploits of the Atlanta Braves, the preferred team in much of the Southeastern United States.

Memphis Oklahoma City Series Betting Pick: Oklahoma City in seven games.


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