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The Knicks Must Win, And The Grizzlies Very Likely Need To Prevail

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/6/2013 7:50:49 PM

The NBA playoffs just got a lot more interesting on Sunday, when Memphis blew a late lead in Game 1 against Oklahoma City, and Indiana won on the road in New York against the Knicks.

Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 2:
Indiana Pacers @ New York Knicks – Tuesday, May 7

In poker games that challenge the patience of several intense competitors, the ability to maintain an even keel is important. It’s little different in professional basketball. The New York Knicks were unsettled by the Indiana Pacers on Sunday in Game 1 of this series. They could not finish near the rim against Indiana’s defense, especially Pacer big man Roy Hibbert. The Knicks were 13 for 30 at the rim, a terrible conversion rate for any team in any situation. This has to change in Game 2 on Tuesday, and what also has to change is that the Knicks attempted fewer than 20 three-point shots.

The Knicks rely on the three for offense. They need to spread the court and not settle for long twos in one-on-one stand-around situations. New York has to rediscover the ball movement that made its offense so effective for long stretches of the regular season. The Knicks must also find ways to pass the ball when Hibbert tries to stop dribble penetration near the basket. New York challenged Hibbert, and while that’s a good thing to do at times, it has to be done intelligently. Drawing Hibbert to one side of the basket and then dishing to a teammate on the other side of the basket will be a winning play for New York. Expect the Knicks, with their backs to the wall, to deliver the goods at home and tie this series as it heads to Indianapolis for Game 3 on Saturday.

NBA Betting Pick: New York

Western Conference Semifinals, Game 2:
Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder – Tuesday, May 7

Sport betting gurus know that the Memphis Grizzlies let a very big fish get away on Sunday in Game 1 of this series. Even the ranks of online football betting students who are processing the fallout from the NFL draft and have not focused all that much on professional basketball would acknowledge that Memphis controlled the flow of play for most of Game 1, only to falter in the final quarter and especially the final minute of regulation.

Memphis scored only seven points in the final six minutes of regulation. The Grizzlies, though, still led by three points with 58 seconds left and had the ball as well. However, they panicked on their final few possessions, failing to make the extra pass and recognize mismatches when they emerged. Guard Mike Conley also lost the ball on a drive to the rim with roughly 20 seconds left, giving Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant the ability to give Oklahoma City the lead with a number of impressive jump shots. Expect Memphis to maintain its composure in Game 2 and finish the job, unlike Sunday’s Game 1 collapse. Conley and Zach Randolph should be able to play well for the Grizzlies.

NBA Betting Pick: Memphis

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