We’re starting to get to the point of panic time for the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are down two games to one in this best of seven series, and they know that they do not want to come back to the Sooner State facing three straight must win situations. That’ll be the case that they’re stuck in if they get beaten in NBA playoff betting action once again by the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
The Thunder are probably still trying to figure out how they ended up blowing a lead that was once 16 points on Saturday, as they probably thought that they had the 2-1 series edge already in hand going into the fourth quarter. Still, Oklahoma City just couldn’t convert down the stretch, and a horrible shooting fourth quarter really came back to bite it in the backside. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant just didn’t look right in that entire game. Westbrook might have had six boards and 12 assists, but he shot just 7-of-22 from the field and ended with 23 points. He also committed seven turnovers and ultimately fouled out of the game. Durant had a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds, but he too, shot the ball poorly at 10-of-24, including 2-of-7 from long range. That three point shooting was an issue all night for the Thunder, who shot just 19.0 percent from the land of trey. In fact, the only things that really kept them in the game was a 91.3 percent free throw shooting percentage, and 53 rebounds.
The problem though, was that nobody saw Z-Bo coming. Zach Randolph has absolutely evolved into a tremendous beast in the paint, and now, the rest of the world is finding out about him as well. He had 21 points on just 8-of-22 shooting from the field, but he also had a whopping 21 rebounds, the most that a member of the Grizzlies has ever had in franchise history in the playoffs. The Grizz had 20 offensive boards on the day, and Z-Bo had eight of them. It was a relatively quiet day for Marc Gasol, who had 16 points and seven rebounds on just 4-of-14 shooting. The difference maker was OJ Mayo. In the time that he was on the court, Memphis was +23. Mayo scored 18 points, had six rebounds, and four assists. Mike Conley Jr. also helped out with 18 points, five rebounds, and four helpers. Tony Allen also had 10 points. The defense really kicked it into gear in the fourth quarter, as that unit and a hungry crowd at the FedEx Forum helped hold a hot shooting Thunder team to just 10 points in the stanza, just enough to force OT. From that point on, the romp was on, as the Grizz outscored OKC 15-7 in the extra stanza.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies Pick: We really don’t see why the Grizzlies are such relatively comfortable favorites in this game. We know that the crowd is going to be on the side of the Grizz in a huge way, but we also know that for about 40 minutes, the Thunder were easily the better team in Game 3. Things should stay in the same form in Game 4, but Memphis won’t be able to stay such a comeback. Go with Oklahoma City +2.5.
Aaron 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.