Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Memphis Grizzlies host the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Three of their Western Conference second round series. The Grizzlies are 3-point home favorites over the Thunder while the over/under point total is set at 202.
The Memphis Grizzlies experienced a predictable letdown in game two in Oklahoma City after a blitzkrieg attack in game one. The main difference for the Grizzlies in game two was a dropoff from stud PF Zach Randolph and his partner in the paint Marc Gasol. Once the Thunder defense got a handle on the pair and forced them into errant shots, Memphis ceased to bully their way into baskets in the middle. In any event the situation is familiar for Memphis, having split the pair in San Antonio in the opening round only to win games three and four at home to grab a 3-1 series lead. The Thunder had the edge in intensity in game two, but Memphis remains the more physical team in this matchup.
The Oklahoma City Thunder bounced back to even the series, but now face an uphill battle in a hostile venue where they dropped both meetings during the regular season. The key for the Thunder in game two was playing more aggressive on the defensive end while establishing cornerstones Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on offense. Durant and Westbrook combined for 62 points in game two while attempting 23 foul shots. The Thunder also managed to cash in on 16 offensive rebounds, but of concern was the fact they let up 17 to Memphis as well. Maintaining physicality on the road against a more physical team will be the biggest challenge here for the young Thunder, as the home team will attempt to disrupt the rhythm of Durant and Westbrook.
All the signs point to the over here with these teams combining for an average of 214 points per game in the two post-season meetings and 210 points per game in three regular season meetings. Call me crazy, but I expect the trend to be bucked tonight as the defense tightens up on the floor of the team who plays the better defense. The oddsmakers have adjusted to the matchup history and I think they’ve given us enough room to sneak under the total as a result as I expect this one to play in the 90’s. I’m taking under the 202 point total.
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