It’s not all that often that you see a No. 8 seed jump out to a lead on a No. 1 seed in NBA playoff betting action, but that’s exactly what the Memphis Grizzlies were able to do over the weekend to the San Antonio Spurs. In what could be a “must win game,” the Spurs will try to level the proceedings and a game apiece on Wednesday night.
And that’s what the Grizzlies traded for Shane Battier. Battier came up in the clutch in a tremendous way in Game 1, knocking down the go ahead three pointer that literally sent shockwaves through the entire NBA, especially in the Western Conference. Battier only played 25 minutes, and he only had 10 points, but none in the entire game were bigger than the three he came up with right at the death. Zach Randolph made a tremendous statement as well, picking up 25 points and 14 rebounds, while Marc Gasol shot 9-for-10 from the floor and had 24 points to go with nine rebounds. The only big time problem that Memphis had in this one was an overabundance of fouls. OJ Mayo fouled out, while both Darrell Arthur and Gasol ended up with five fouls. Three others had four personals. Turning the ball over 16 times really didn’t help either. In fact, it almost seems remarkable that the Grizz were able to pull this off in spite of all of that, a true testament to just how strong this team really could be.
Sure, one game doesn’t make a seven game series, but it definitely does serve as a wakeup call. If Head Coach Gregg Popovich and company thought that they were coasting through this series, they were sorely mistaken. Memphis, unlike the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference, is legit, and if it is taken lightly, it will come back to beat the Spurs in this series, and now they know it. Of course, it’ll help once Manu Ginobili gets back into the lineup on Wednesday night as he is expected to. The Argentine is the heart and soul of this team at times, and though Tim Duncan is the grizzly veteran who will bring his lunch pail to the office every single day, it is Ginobili that really gives this team flare and swagger. Tony Parker probably won’t shoot 4-for-16 from the field again in this game, nor are the Spurs really that likely to only get three points out of Antonio McDyess. San Antonio really should shoot better than 40.0 percent from the floor in this one when push comes to shove.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Pick: Still, we’re not all that sure that it isn’t the wise idea to take the Grizzlies once again. Sure, we don’t see the Spurs falling down 0-2, but this is a lot of points to be giving a team that has already proven that it is good enough to cover six in a row against a fantastic team. Back the Grizzlies +8.5.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.