Having disposed of the elder statesmen of the NBA in the Spurs, the Memphis Grizzlies will aim to take a 3-1 lead out of the Fedex Forum tonight. Since the shoulder injury to Rudy Gay, Randolph and Gasol have been leading the way.
The city of Memphis has gone through a lot in the last week with flooding and other issues that have the community rallying together to support each other. A big part of that effort has been the play of the Memphis Grizzlies, as people jammed in the FedEx Forum on Saturday to forget about their troubles and support a team that is trying to make history. After their Game 3 win, the Grizzlies are now just two wins away from becoming just the second No. 8 seed to advance to the Conference Finals.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder dominated most of Game 3, holding a 16-point lead in the second half, but were unable to make plays down the stretch, and now face a 2-1 series deficit. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant really struggled in the fourth quarter and overtime, making a combined 3-for-17 from the field, while Westbrook committed five of his seven turnovers during that time. The Thunder were outscored 38-17 over those final 17 minutes. After combining to score 36 points in Game 2, James Harden and Eric Maynor combined for just 14 in Game 3. Kevin Durant’s struggles on offense can be explained by Tony Allen’s defense. Durant was just 2-of-11 (18.2%) from the floor with four points when guarded by Allen in Game 3, including Durant’s potential go-ahead shot with five seconds remaining in regulation.
Trailing 82-71 halfway through the fourth quarter, the Grizzlies and their crowd took over the game, outscoring the Thunder 30-9 over that timeframe. Mike Conley was outstanding, scoring 18 points and contributing on many plays over the final period and OT. After shooting 48.4 percent inside of 10 feet in the first two games of the series, the Grizzlies struggled to finish down low early, shooting 33.3 percent from inside 10 feet and getting eight such shots blocked in the first three quarters. Memphis turned it around in the fourth and overtime, shooting 56.3 percent inside of 10 feet and getting just one of its 16 attempts blocked. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol were 6-of-21 (28.6%) inside of 10 feet in the first three quarters, attempting half of the Grizzlies shots from that distance. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Randolph and Gasol went 2-of-4 inside of 10 feet, with Mike Conley, Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo taking the bulk of the shots.
NBA betting stats
Memphis was 0-6 all-time in home playoff games before this season, but has turned the tide around, winning all four of it home playoff games so far in 2011. The Grizzlies are by far the best home team ATS this season (59-31), which includes a 4-0 mark this postseason. The Thunder need to figure how to consistently get Durant good looks at the basket, or this could be a rough rest of series for his team. Despite ScottK laying his money behind Durant and co, I like Memphis to win Game 4 and take a 3-1 series lead back to Oklahoma City.
The NBA betting trends provide a large amount of highly-rated trends including these three:
MEMPHIS is 21-5 ATS (80.8%, +15.5 Units) when playing 6 or less games in 14 days this season. The average score was MEMPHIS 101.2, OPPONENT 94.3 - (Rating = 4*).
Play Against - Underdogs (OKLAHOMA CITY) - good shooting team (45.5-47.5%) against an poor defensive team (45.5-47.5%), good ball handling team (<=14.5 TO's) against an average pressure defensive team (14.5-16.5 TO's). (102-51 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.7%, +45.9 units. Rating = 3*).
MEMPHIS is 32-12 ATS (72.7%, +18.8 Units) versus good shooting teams - making >=46% of their shots this season. The average score was MEMPHIS 101.0, OPPONENT 99.4 - (Rating = 3*).