The 4/5 series in the Western Conference should be a good one, and it starts with NBA betting action on Sunday night when the Memphis Grizzlies face the Los Angeles Clippers.
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There were definitely high hopes for the Clippers this year. Yes, they got into the playoffs, but all of a sudden, they went from a team that could have won the Pacific Division to one that has to open up on the road. Had Chauncey Billups stayed healthy this year, Los Angeles might have been able to be the No. 3 seed. Instead, it is really up to the play of just Blake Griffin and Chris Paul to carry the Clips in their first playoff series in nearly a decade. Griffin averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, but he just isn’t really that good defensively and doesn’t have all that much of an offensive game beyond the paint. Paul averaged 19.8 points, 9.0 assists, 3.6 boards, and 2.5 steals per game, and if the Clippers are going to win this series, he is going to be the guy that has to come up big. Caron Butler brings some experience to this team, while Nick Young came over from the Washington Wizards and immediately stepped in and contributed, putting in 9.7 points per game and knocking down a healthy 38.6 percent from long range.
Last year was a banner year for the Grizzlies, who made it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. Memphis had never won a playoff game before last year, and not only did it get into the second round, but it did so by taking care of the San Antonio Spurs, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. This year though, Rudy Gay is back in the fold after missing the whole end of the year in 2011, and he is the team’s heart and soul. Gay was one of the five men that scored in double digits for this side this year, though one of the five, Zach Randolph, has come off of the bench since getting healthy about halfway through the season. Randolph could be a defensive stopper in this series though, and he might be overtaking Marreese Speights as the team’s main man in the post to take on Griffin. Mike Conley looks like the real deal in the backcourt, especially with the help of OJ Mayo. Both are averaging right around 13 points per game, and Conley also has a great assist to turnover ratio at 6.5/2.0, and he also has 2.2 steals per game.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Memphis Grizzlies Pick: This could be a great series to watch in the end. We want the points on our side, as we just don’t know how different these teams really are. If Z-Bo ends up being a man that can at least slow down Griffin though, this could become a relatively short series. For now though, we want the Clips and the points on our side.
Free Basketball Pick: Los Angeles Clippers +5.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.