Date/Time: May 7, 9:30 pm EST
NBA Gambling Odds from JustBet
NBA Betting Favorite: Thunder -2.5
The Memphis Grizzlies let an amazing opportunity to grab a 1-0 lead on Oklahoma City’s home floor slip away in Game One. Can the Grizzlies bounce back and pick up the split or will the Thunder take a 2-0 lead? This has the potential to be a long series between two teams who play a lot of tight games. Let’s take a look at Game Two.
Memphis had an 11 point lead late in the third quarter, and they led by three points with a minute to go in the final period. The Grizzlies made some critical mistakes in the closing seconds of Sunday’s game, and they paid a big price for those mistakes. Memphis really controlled the majority of the game, but they have nothing to show for it. Clearly, this is a team that can win this series, but they’ll have to find a way to finish games a little better.
Memphis’ huge advantage in this series is in the paint with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Serge Ibaka is a good defender inside, but the Thunder don’t have enough guys to keep these two quiet all game. Memphis led the league in least points allowed this year. Opponents put up just 89.3 points per game. The Grizzlies were first in the NBA in defensive rebounding as well. Memphis was actually outrebounded by two boards in Game One, and they’ll need to control the glass moving forward if they are going to win this series.
Kevin Durant stepped up in a big way in the fourth quarter in Game One. He wasn’t himself in the team’s home loss to the Houston Rockets in Game Five of the Thunder’s first round series, but it looks like he learned his lesson. Durant carried the team on his back at the end of their fourth quarter comeback on Sunday afternoon. There is obviously a much bigger weight on Durant’s shoulders now that Russell Westbrook is out of the lineup for Oklahoma City. Kevin Martin was big in Game One, and he’ll need to continue taking the pressure off Durant.
Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins combined to go 2 for 16 from the floor in Game One. Those two don’t have to be big scorers, but they’ll need to contribute a little bit more moving forward. The two of them must be huge on the defensive end, as they have the tough task of shutting down the Grizzlies inside game. Though Oklahoma City is known for their high-octane offense, it has been their huge improvement on defense that has made them so dangerous this year. The Thunder are second in the NBA in field goal percentage defense.
Free Pick: Under 186
The first game went slightly under the total, and I think this one will as well. These two teams are both very good defensively and the pace is slower with Westbrook out of the lineup.
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