Clippers vs. Grizzlies: Memphis Finds Itself in a Must-Win Situation in Game 2

Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies
Wednesday, 5/2/12, 9:30 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Memphis -5
Current Betting Line:  Memphis -6.5
Opening Total:  187
Current Total:  185
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Memphis Grizzlies blew a large fourth-quarter lead against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1

Los Angeles captured an improbable 99-98 win over Memphis in Game 1 of this best-of-seven Western Conference series, coming back from a 22-point deficit with just under eight minutes to play.  “In the NBA playoffs, anything can happen,” stated Clippers forward Caron Butler.  Small forward Nick Young was the surprise star for the team in the series opener, scoring a game-high 19 points, including three straight makes from beyond the arc.  Los Angeles is 13-11 ATS as an underdog this year, with the “under” being 13-12 in that situation.

The Clippers victory didn’t come without a price, as Butler suffered a left hand injury that will likely knock him out for the rest of the postseason.  Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul had a solid performance, registering a double-double with 14 points and dishing out 11 assists, but he’s been even better in four Game 2’s during his career.  Paul has averaged 24.0 points and 12.8 assists in that situation.

Memphis dropped its first home game since March 16 on Sunday night, as its franchise record-tying 11-game win streak at the FedExForum was snapped.  The Grizzlies may also be without a significant player in their normal rotation, as guard Tony Allen is listed as probable with a knee injury, averaging 9.8 points and 1.79 steals per game this season.  Offensively, the team was surprisingly efficient from the 3-point area in Game 1, hitting 11-of-16 from beyond the arc.  Memphis ranked 25th in 3-point percentage during the regular season.

The Grizzlies are wanting to create havoc on the basketball court, leading the NBA in steals and forced turnovers the last two seasons.  Forward Rudy Gay will need to build on his team-high 19 points in the series opener in hopes of tying this series at a game apiece, as he averaged 19.0 points during the regular season.  It’s important to note that the franchise was 26-7 overall and 18-6 versus Western opponents at home before the start of the playoffs.

Bettors will likely back the Clippers due to their 6-4 ATS record after an upset win as an underdog, while the Grizzlies are 0-5 ATS when playing with two days rest.

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