NBA Picks: Clippers at Grizzlies Game 2 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 5/1/2012
We will find out on Wednesday night how much intestinal fortitude the Memphis Grizzlies have after they staged one of the biggest choke jobs in NBA playoff history in a Game 1 home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in their Western Conference quarterfinals series.
By now you know what happened on Sunday as the Clips rallied from a 27-point deficit to stun the Grizz, 99-98, on a pair of Chris Paul free throws with 23.7 seconds left. Rudy Gay missed a potential tying 15-footer with 0.9 seconds left after the Grizzlies squandered a lead they held for the first 47 minutes. The Clippers tied the NBA playoff record for largest deficit overcome at the end of three quarters, when they trailed by 21 (it was still Memphis up by 24 with eight minutes left).
L.A. outscored Memphis 35-13 in the fourth quarter, the most points in the final period by a Memphis opponent this season. Los Angeles also hit 13-of-17 from the floor, including 5-of-6 beyond the arc. The Clips made eight more field goals, including four more three-point shots, and grabbed 13 more rebounds than the Grizzlies in that fourth.
The irony of that comeback is the Clips Coach Vinny Del Negro was close to pulling Paul from the game for good at the end of the third or early in the fourth, thinking it was over and wanting to give Paul and his sore groin some rest. But Paul essentially begged Del Negro to let him play. Good choice.
So now the Grizzlies either fold their tents or man up and tie this series before it heads to L.A.
Clippers at Grizzlies Betting Story Lines
Memphis is supposed to have one of the biggest, best and most physical frontcourts in the NBA, led by Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. But the Clippers outscored Memphis 54-38 in the paint on Sunday night and outrebounded Memphis by six. The unsung star was backup power forward Reggie Evans for L.A. He finished with seven points and 13 rebounds and helped harass Randolph into shooting 3-of-13 and just six points. Evans also gave L.A. its first lead at 97-96 when he scored from in close with 58 seconds left. He also had eight rebounds in the fourth quarter, twice as many as the entire Grizzlies team.
The loss has to crush Memphis even more as it snapped an 11-game home winning streak that had tied Memphis' franchise high. It also was the Grizzlies' first loss in regulation at home since Feb. 12 against Utah. Grizzlies Coach Lionel Hollins said if he had one do-over it would have been running more plays for center Marc Gasol in the fourth quarter. Gasol attempted just one shot in the second half, and had no field goal attempts in the fourth.
But in reality the Grizzlies won’t win this series without more from Randolph, who was sensational in last year’s playoff run. Z-Bo hasn’t been the same player this year and pretty clearly still isn’t 100 percent after missing 38 games when he tore his MCL on New Year’s Day. Randolph only returned to the starting lineup in the regular-season finale. He hasn’t scored more than 16 points in the past 10 games and has been in single digits in four of them. Hollins says he has no plans of making any changes to his starting lineup.
There was one piece of bad news for the Clippers in Game 1, however. Starting small forward Caron Butler, one of the few Clippers with playoff experience, broke his left hand and is likely out for the rest of the playoffs. He had 12 points on Sunday, right at his season average. Del Negro’s options to start are Ryan Gomes and Bobby Simmons, even though neither played in Game 1. Nick Young could get a chance as well. Young was key in the comeback with 19 points off the bench. It will probably be Simmons because Del Negro likes Young coming off the bench.
Clippers at Grizzlies Betting Odds and Key Trends
Memphis opened as a six-point favorite with the total at 185 (it was 5.5 and 184 in Game 1). L.A. was 33-33 ATS overall this season and 16-17 away. The Grizzlies were 29-37 ATS overall and 16-17 at home. ‘Over/under’ records: LAC 33-32-1, MEM 26-40.
Memphis is 0-5 ATS in its past five games as a favorite and 1-6 ATS in its past seven games vs. Western Conference teams. The Clippers are 1-4 ATS in their past five overall. The over has hit in L.A.’s past four games. The over is 5-2 in Memphis’ past seven home games. The under is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in this series.
NBA Picks: Clippers at Grizzlies Betting Predictions
A lot of people liked Memphis as a dark horse in the West – they are 12/1 to win the conference on Bovada. And I wouldn’t bail on them yet. Why? Three other teams have blown leads of 18 points or more at the end of three quarters in the playoffs during the shot clock era: the New Jersey Nets lost in 2002, but last year’s Dallas Mavericks won as did the Houston Rockets in 1994. All three of those clubs reached the Finals, with the Mavs and Rockets bringing home titles.
Perhaps Memphis wants to keep L.A. close in Game 2. Sunday’s comeback win marked the 15th time this season the Clippers won a game when trailing by 10 or more points, which is most in NBA. But I do think a lack of playoff experience bites L.A. in this game – the Clippers already think they stole the one game they needed in Memphis. Plus, the Grizzlies were utterly dominant for 80 percent of Game 1. So give the points in what I think is a pseudo-blowout. Also take the over.
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