With speculation as to whether Mike Conley might be available for Tuesday’s matchup, many observers and analysts of the NBA playoff odds were wondering whether Memphis could really stay in this series without him. Well, Conley, who had suffered broken bones in his face in Game 3 against Portland, had surgery, and had to be fitted with a protective mask, returned rather triumphantly, scoring 22 points and leading the Grizzlies to a 97-90 win to even up the series.
Now these teams go to the FedEx Forum for Game 3, which starts at 8 PM ET. And Golden State has some legitimate reason to be concerned, considering that Memphis is getting it done with defense.
Remember these things – Golden State had a streak of 21 straight home victories that was snapped. On top of that, they had gone 44-0 when they held opponents below 100 points. So the victory was very significant for the Grizzlies, who now would seem to have a legitimate “Big Three” on the defensive side as they move forward in trying to stop Golden State’s extremely dangerous backcourt.
In the NBA playoff odds that have been posted on this game by the people at Vietbet, the Warriors are laying points as the road team:
Golden State Warriors -4.5
Memphis Grizzlies +4.5
Over 196.5 points -110
Under 196.5 points -110
Tony Allen was a pain in the neck for Klay Thompson to deal with, plain and simple. Allen, who was regarded as one of the best defensive players in the league, regardless of position, stuck like glue to Thompson and forced 40% shooting out of the 6-7 off-guard, who was also only one out of six from three-point range, a real come down for the guy who is second in the league in making triples. Thompson had five turnovers, while Allen had four steals.
Conley has also received All-Defensive team recognition in the NBA before, and aside from the fact that he turned the ball over only once in 27 minutes, he also was very much the point man of the “stop” effort, as he made things very uncomfortable for the newly-minted Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry, who went just 7-19 from the floor, including two out of 11 from beyond the arc. So now Vietbet customers see a situation where two of the league’s better defenders are on top of the Splash Brothers, which makes this series much more interesting all of a sudden.
Of course, the third member of the trio playing “lockdown” is the former Defensive Player of the Year, Marc Gasol, who mans the middle. He will certainly have an effect on the way Golden State operates on the inside, although that is not what they rely on. The Warriors were 21-40 within the paint, and that is probably something Memphis can do something about. But we don’t need to tell you that it is very hard to stop Golden State, because of the fact they spread out opposing defenses so well and exhibit great ball movement.
A layoff of three full days, however, helps Conley tremendously, not only with his facial injuries, but with a sprained foot that he took into the post-season with him. One could expect that he’d come out with some renewed energy in Game 3, and all of the Grizzlies might have to, because Golden State is the best in the NBA on the road, with a 30-13 straight-up record.
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CHARLES JAY, a contributor to BangTheBook.com, is one of the most experienced sports betting writers in America, as he has written more than 10,000 pieces specifically for the industry over the last seven years. At one time employed as an editorial consultant with USA Network, he is also a former syndicated radio talk show host (American Radio Networks) and has also done color commentary on boxing events in the past for Prime Network (now known as Fox SportsNet). He is a veteran of more than a decade and a half working within the professional sports industry, and has been handicapping sporting events for over 25 years. In addition to this, he has compiled specialty odds for a number of online sportsbook operations and media outlets.