Memphis at San Antonio
Time: 8:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: SAS -11
Odds c/o 5dimes
The San Antonio Spurs sent a loud reminder to the rest of the Association that they are still, in fact, the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio smashed Memphis 111-82 in Game 1 of the Best of Seven series on Saturday, and the Spurs will look to move ahead 2-0 as 11-point favorites on its homecourt tonight on TNT.
The game will tip off at 8:30 PM (Central) and has a low over/under of just 189 points.
Perhaps this series is not quite the draw of the others. Memphis has been a grinding defensive team for the past decade, and the Spurs, while exciting, lack the star appeal of the likes of Golden State, Houston and even Oklahoma City. And that is a funny thing, considering the Spurs have quite a star of their own in swingman Kawhi Leonard. Under most metrics, Leonard had himself an MVP-caliber regular season, and the Spurs won 61 games.
But with James Harden and Russell Westbrook posting all-time historical seasons, Leonard largely went under the radar, even on the West’s No. 2 team. Leonard shot 11 of 14 from the floor and 9 of 9 from the line in Game 1 en route to 32 points, but even with games like that his performances still seem to be overshadowed by the theatrics in the other, quicker-tempo series in the West.
San Antonio did San Antonio things in Game 1, too, holding the Grizzlies to just 39 percent shooting and finishing with a plus-8 margin on the glass. The Spurs, meanwhile, hit 53.2 percent from the floor and 10 of 19 from three-point range (52.6 percent) while turning the ball over just nine times in the game. While many are quick to hype the high scoring attacks of Houston and Golden State, San Antonio is no slouch itself at scoring the ball, evidenced by hanging 111 on a tough defensive team like Memphis in the postseason. There is also perhaps need to mention the fact that the Spurs held its opponents to just 98.1 points per game in the regular season while scoring 105.3 itself (good for a +7.2 differential, No. 2 in the NBA).
For as good as Memphis has been this season, it seems still to be largely a team without a lot of upside. Marc Gasol has had another monstrous season, and he scored 32 points on 11 of 18 shooting in Game 1. But Mike Conley was mediocre at best, and he started alongside an ancient Vince Carter (2 of 6 for four points) and an unproven youngster Wayne Selden (2 of 8 for five points).
Starting power forward JaMychal Green has emerged to move Zach Randolph to the Sixth Man role (and he is truly a candidate for the award, in actuality), but Z-Bo struggled in his own right in going just 3 of 13 from the floor to finish with six points and three boards. His stat line seems almost emblematic of the Grizzlies’ aging, dying core.
While the Grizzlies have been a tough playoff contender for what seems like ages, this team seemingly lacks any sort of x-factor that can put it over the hump, particularly against a team as well-tuned as the Spurs. Expect San Antonio to take care of business, win by double-digits as oddsmakers project, and emerge with its 2-0 lead firmly intact as the series goes back to the “Grindhouse” in Memphis for Game 3.