NBA Western Conference Finals: #2 San Antonio Spurs vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies

2013 NBA Playoffs – Western Conference Finals
#2 San Antonio Spurs vs #5 Memphis Grizzlies
Best of Seven Series Format: 2-2-1-1-1
Series Price: (Odds Courtesy of Bovada) Spurs -140 / Grizzlies +120
Game #1, Sunday, May 19, 2013, 3:35 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
AT&T Center – San Antonio,  Texas
Opening Line: San Antonio -5
Current Line: San Antonio -4 1/2
Opening Total: 184
Current Total: 182 1/2
Opening Money Line: Spurs -175 / Grizzlies +155
Current Money Line: Spurs -190 / Grizzlies +160

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker lead the Spurs as they take on the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.
Tim Duncan and Tony Parker lead the Spurs as they take on the Grizzlies in the Western Conference Finals.

The San Antonio Spurs won the Central Division by 2 games over the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs won 58 games and the Grizzlies won 56. San Antonio was the #2 seed in the Western Conference and Memphis dropped to the #5 seed. The two teams will renew their rivalry in the Western Conference Finals which begin Sunday in San Antonio. The winner will face either the Miami Heat or Indiana Pacers in the NBA Finals next month.

Memphis and San Antonio split the season series 2-2 with each winning both home games. The Spurs won in  overtime 99-95 in overtime December 1. The Grizzlies would grab an overtime home win January 11 101-98. San Antonio would win in a rout 103-82 January 16 despite Manu Ginobli missing the game with a strained hamstring. Memphis won 92-90 on April 1. In that game the Spurs were without three of their top 4 scorers as Ginobli, Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. Mike Conley hit the game winning shot on a driving lay-up with 0.6 seconds left. Memphis and  San Antonio are meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 2011. In that series, the #8 seeded Grizzlies upset the #1 Spurs in the first round of the playoffs in seven grueling games.

The Grizzlies advanced to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. Memphis beat the #4 seed Los Angeles Clippers 4-2 in the first round, despite dropping the first two games in LA. In the conference semifinals, Memphis upset the #1 seed Oklahoma City Thunder in 5 games. The Thunder won the first game by 2 points but the Grizzlies would win the next 4 games by 6 points or less. Every game was up in the air with 2 minutes to go in the game. The Grizzlies won the close out game Wednesday in Oklahoma City 88-84. The Thunder played the whole series without All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook who underwent knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

San Antonio advanced to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight year. The Spurs swept the #7 seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The Spurs dispatched the pesky #6 seeded Golden State Warriors in six tough games in the semifinals. The Spurs pulled away late in the game six clincher Thursday night in Oakland 94-82.

Memphis is coached by Lionel Hollins. Memphis is 56-35-2 ATS and the total is 37-54-1 this season. Memphis is outscoring teams 94-90 this season. They are first in the league in points allowed and are #26 in scoring. The Grizzlies are shooting 44.4% from the field and 34.5% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are #21 in field goal percentage and #24 in three point shooting. Memphis is #9 in the league in free throw shooting at 77.3% from the line. The Grizzlies average 42.6 rebounds per game and give up 39. Memphis is #1 in rebounds allowed and #12 in rebounding. Grizzlies’ opponents are  shooting 43.7% from the field and 33.9% from 3 point range. Memphis is #3 in both categories. The Grizzlies average 20.9 assists, 8.6 steals, 5.3 blocks and 13.2 turnovers a game.

In the playoffs, forward Zach Randolph averages 19.7 points, 9.3 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.9 assists per game. Point Guard Mike Conley, Jr. averages 17.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 7.6 assists, and 1.6 steals a game. Center Marc Gasol averages 18.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists, a steal, and 2.2 blocks per game. Forward Tayshawn Prince was acquired from the Detroit Pistons in the Rudy Gay trade. He is averaging 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game in the playoffs.  Tony Allen starts at shooting guard and is one of the best defenders in the league. Allen averages 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Point guard Jerryd Bayless, forward Quincy Pondexter, forward Darrell Arthur, guard Tony Wroten, and forwards Ed Davis and Austin Daye  make up the rest of the rotation.

San Antonio is coached by Gregg Popovich. The Spurs are 46-44-2 ATS and the total is 40-50-2 this season. San Antonio is outscoring teams 103-96. The Spurs are #4 in scoring and #9 in points allowed. The Spurs are shooting 48.2% from the field and 37.6% from 3 point range. San Antonio is in the top 5 in the league in both categories. The Spurs are #3 in free throw shooting at 79% from the line. San Antonio averages 41.4 rebounds and give up 42.4 per game. Spurs’ opponents are shooting 44.1% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. San Antonio is in the top 10 in both categories. The Spurs average 25.1 assists, 8.5 steals, 5.5 blocks, and 14.1 turnovers.

In the playoffs, Parker is averaging 22.4 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.1 rebounds. Duncan is averaging 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. Leonard is averaging 13.4 points, and 8.2 rebounds. He is probable with a knee injury. Manu Ginobli is averaging 12.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game. Guard Danny Green is averaging 10 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. Gary Neal, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter, Matt Bonner, and Cory Joseph make up the rest of the rotation.

Memphis is 10-1 ATS in the playoffs and has covered 10 straight games, 5-0 in road games, and against teams with winning home records, 13-3 against teams with winning records, 17-4-1 overall, 4-1 in Sunday games, 12-3-1 after a straight up win, 15-5-1 after a cover, and 20-8-1 against Western Conference teams. The under is 6-2 in the last 8 in this series.

San Antonio is 4-1 ATS after a straight up win of 10 points or more, 14-4 on two days rest, 7-3 overall, and against Western Conference teams, 4-9 at home, 3-7 against teams with winning road records, 5-13 after a straight up win, and 4-12 against teams with winning records, and 0-4 in conference final games. The Spurs are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 against the Grizzlies, and 3-1-1 ATS in the last 5 in San Antonio against Memphis.

This will be a very entertaining series. Both teams are evenly matched. The Grizzlies have Gasol and Randolph, and they will matchup against Duncan and Splitter for the Spurs. Conley and Parker are two of the best point guards in the league. Ginobli has recovered nicely from the quad injury that has hampered him the whole season. These are two of the best defensive teams in the league so this could be a low scoring series. This could be the last go around for the veteran Spurs. I see this series going the full seven with the Grizzlies winning the series.

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