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Memphis, Unbeaten At Home In The 2013 Playoffs, Hosts The Spurs This Saturday

Posted by Craig Parsons on 5/24/2013 9:06:05 PM

For the first time, the Memphis Grizzlies will host a Western Conference Finals game on Saturday night. The fans in the state of Tennessee will be buzzing at tip-off time.

Western Conference Finals, Game 3:

San Antonio Spurs @ Memphis Grizzlies – Saturday, May 25

Sportsbook line: Memphis -5

A savvybetmanages to look not just at the scoreboard, but at the context in which a game is played. Yes, the numbers say that San Antonio owns a two-game lead in this series, and the Spurs obviously have to like their chances in this best-of-seven battle over the course of two weeks, but the discussion here is about the sport bettingplay that should be made in Game 3, not for the series itself.

For the NCAA football betting consultants who don’t focus very much on the NBA, it has to be pointed out that Memphis simply must win in order to have any chance of taking this series. If the Grizzlies fall on Saturday night, they’ll be down 3-0, and no team that’s ever trailed 3-0 has come back to win the series. Three teams in history have managed to forge a 3-3 series tie after trailing by a three-game deficit, but none of those teams won Game 7. Dallas turned back Portland in 2003, and Utah fended off Denver in 1994, to give the two most recent examples of teams that led 3-0, then had to win a Game 7 to survive.

The odds suggest, then, that Memphis will play with supreme focus, intensity and desperation in this spot. The Grizzlies also have the knowledge that they fell behind the Los Angeles Clippers, 2-0, in the first round of this year’s playoffs. Memphis returned home for Game 3 and spanked the Clippers, engineering a turnaround that led to four straight wins.

Yes, it’s true that San Antonio’s older roster – especially its aging trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili – gets three full days of rest before Game 3. However, that seems like the kind of thing that will help San Antonio in the long run, not necessarily the short run. Memphis has too much on the line, and will have too much emotion in this, its first Western Conference Finals home game as a franchise, to stumble.

The Grizzlies are going to jump out of their shoes with energy, and that tidal wave of effort will wash over the Spurs, drowning San Antonio in what figures to be a decisive Game 3 victory for Memphis. One thing that has to be emphasized more than other lines of analysis is that Memphis forward Zach Randolph has been very nearly nonexistent to this point in the series. He was a genuine no-show in Game 1 and made only a few small contributions late in Game 2. If he busts out with a big performance in this game, and he should be trusted to do so, San Antonio is going to be rocked on its heels. The Spurs will be forced to make all kinds of adjustments if Randolph is effective, and those adjustments are going to be hard to make. It is hard to think that Memphis’ frontcourt is going to remain impotent throughout this series without exceptions.

There should be some tough games ahead in this series, but Game 3 doesn’t figure to be one of them. A close game would have been much more likely if this series had shifted to Tennessee knotted at one game apiece.

NBA Betting Pick: Memphis

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