Game 2 NBA Playoffs: Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies

Z-Bo Could have another huge series
Z-Bo Could have another huge series

Portland at Memphis
Time: 7 PM CST
Spread: MEM -7
M/L: MEM -270; POR +230

Betting odds c/o Bovada

Memphis emerged from Game 1 big victors, winning Game 1 100-86, in a game that was far less close than the 14 point difference would indicate. The Grizzlies led by as many as 29 points, but frittered away some points in garbage time.

Memphis will be 7-point favorites in Game 2 according to live NBA odds at Bovada. Oddsmakers set the moneyline at -270 for Memphis, and for an understanding how how to bet these odds see our NBA odds explained.

The Grizzlies may have stopped Portland in Game 1, but there is the hidden caveat for Portland that Mike Conley re-injured his ankle. Because Portland’s primary scorer Damian Lillard mans the 1-spot, this will be problematic for Memphis. Terry Stotts said of backup Beno Udrih that “he’s been here a long time and he’s effective.”

While that is true, it is crippling for the Grizzlies to be without Conley. He’s confident in Udrih as a backup, and with good reason; Udrih has carved out a career since beginning with the San Antonio Spurs 11 seasons ago. He’s a very good shooter and smart point guard, and that is picking up right after Conley.

Zach Randolph played well, despite missing a number of shots he typically knocks down. He finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Memphis, while free agent to-be Marc Gasol had 15 and 11. Jeff Green contributed 11, but it may have been the fear that the Grizzlies put into Portland with a big blowout that was most important. LaMarcus Aldridge simply called it “a wakeup call,” and added that the Grizzlies “manhandled them.”

The Blazers are a tough team with Aldridge and a plethora of big men including Robin Lopez to head the beast, that this simply shouldn’t be the case. The Blazers will have to come out with a lot more intensity to prevent similar domination. Portland held a plus-8 advantage on the glass and had 16 rebounds, but it turned the ball over 13 times comparative to Memphis’ eight miscues. The Grizzlies thus ended up with 15 fast break points and 52 points in the paint, which ultimately was where the “manhandling occurred,” not on the glass.

Aldridge finished with 32 points and 14 boards, so he’s not really the one to blame. Lillard shot just 5 of 21 from the floor and missed all six of his threes. Nicolas Batum, one who will have to step up with Wes Matthews and Arron Afflalo both out, had just 15 points. Aldridge took 34 shots in the game, and he shouldn’t have to carry a load that monumentally large.

The Grizzlies have won 10 of the past 11 SU vs. Portland and won the season series in a sweep. This series may not be as close as some anticipated, and could very well only go five games or even be a sweep. It’s hard to imagine that taking away Conley would have so little an effect, but the Grizzlies have kept a very good backup in Udrih mostly tucked away. The team also has a good reliance on one another and strong identity based on hustle play. It’s not unfair to call the Grizzlies a dark horse in the Western Conference, and if Conley gets healthy, all the more so.

The Grizzlies are rightly 7-point favorites, but given the strength of the team at home, bettors may be wise to consider a cover on the spread.  With the M/L at -270, it is a good value given the Grizz dominance over Portland this season and in the recent past, with squads that have featured the same talents for the most part.  The precedent set in this series is heavily indicative of what could easily be a sweep.

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