Thunder at Grizzlies Picks and Game 4 NBA Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 5/13/2013
I feel like I have seen this before. Two years ago the Grizzlies and the Thunder met in the second round of the playoffs. After three games Memphis had a 2-1 lead in the series and was looking like the better team. Then, in Game 4, Memphis blew a 22-point second-quarter lead and eventually lost 133-123 in triple overtime. That game swung the series, and Oklahoma City won the series in seven games. They lost in the next round to eventual champions Dallas.
Oklahoma City would very much like the same outcome — minus the third-round loss. They also really need to win this game. The biggest difference between this series and the last one, though, is that Russell Westbrook is in street clothes. We knew that that was going to have a big impact on this team as soon as the injury occurred, and in this series it has definitely proven to be the case. Does Oklahoma City have another gear to shift into? Or will we see more of the same?
Thunder at Grizzlies Betting Storylines
If the Thunder want to turn things around, they are going to have to remember how to shoot and how to score again. They were just plain lousy last time out. They scored just 81 points — their worst performance of the playoffs by a dozen points and nearly 25 points below their season average. They also managed to sink just 36.4 percent of their shots — well under their capabilities. It wasn’t like they couldn’t get open, either. When they did find open shots, which was surprisingly often against the Memphis defense, they were able to find new and frustrating ways to miss them each time. If they are as poor shooting the ball again, they are in real trouble. Those struggles do provide some solid reason for hope for the Thunder, though — they only lost by six despite their incompetence, so some even competent shooting makes them much more competitive.
While Oklahoma City needs to forget that that shooting performance ever happened, they also need to remember what they were doing on the boards and do the exact same thing again. Game 3 was the first time in the series that they outrebounded the Grizzlies, and that’s not an easy thing to do. The team was especially strong on the offensive end, with a 14-5 edge in offensive rebounds. That interior strength led to a strong edge in points in the paint. There is bad news here for Oklahoma City, though. While it is reasonably easy to imagine them shooting much better in Game 4 than they did in Game 3, it is far more difficult to imagine them dominating the glass for a second game.
Memphis is very comfortable playing at home. They have won and covered the spread in their last five games, including all four playoff games. All three wins over the Clippers were by at least 12 points, too, so they haven’t been tough home contests. Oklahoma City needs to overcome that edge. As good as they are, though, they are not nearly as strong on the road as at home. They are 28-17 on the road on the season, including the playoffs, and 24-19-2 ATS. That’s far from incompetent, but the situation could give us more confidence.
Thunder at Grizzlies Game 4 NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The Grizzlies have covered their last eight spreads. Oklahoma City is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against the Grizzlies. 15 of the last 22 meetings between these squads have gone “over” the total.
Thunder at Grizzlies Picks and Game 4 Predictions
The loss of Westbrook is really hurting the Thunder, and in this series it is especially evident. The lack of offensive explosiveness is very clear, and the team doesn’t seem to have the offensive options or the confidence that they do with Westbrook playing.
That being said, this series is between two evenly-matched teams, and it just doesn’t seem like the Grizzlies have the strength to open up what would likely be a dominating lead. The Thunder haven’t been particularly well coached in these playoffs, but they still have enough tricks up their sleeves -- and enough talent -- to keep this one close.
I have more confidence in Oklahoma City improving than I do in the Grizzlies repeating their performance from last game. At this spread, then, the Thunder are attractive.
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