Memphis Grizzlies AT Oklahoma City Thunder
May 11, 2011 at 9:30 PM EST
Opening Line: OKC -5.5
Current Line: OKC -6.5
Opening Total: 198
Current Total: 197
Opening Moneyline: OKC -215, MEM +185
Current Moneyline: OKC -295, MEM +245
Series Tied 2-2
If exciting games are your thing, as it is with most fans, you really couldn’t have asked for much more excitement than the triple overtime thriller that the Thunder and Grizzlies put on Monday night. After matching offensive outputs in regulation due to a long three by Mike Conley, the teams went toe to toe before the Grizzlies put them away 14-4 in the third extra period. The obvious corollary of this is going to be two tired teams tonight, but Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins rationalized that both teams are facing the same daunting struggle tonight.
“It’s not a lot of rest but it’s not a lot for each team,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “I’m sure they’ll have a little more bounce in their step being at home and having won this game versus us having lost it. But we’ll be there.”
A loss would have put the Thunder on the brink of elimination, but instead they find themselves tied and with home court advantage back in their hands as today’s game 5 and a deciding game 7, if necessary, will again of course be in Oklahoma City. Scott Brooks likes the outlook from here:
“It feels much better being 2-2 and Game 5 on our home floor. It would have been a tough mountain to climb being down 3-1. Not impossible, but very tough,” Brooks said. “We’re excited. Guys, there’s plenty of energy in their bodies. They’re going to have energy.”
Despite the uneven end scores, if this were played as a cumulative total (as they do in Euro soccer sometimes), the score would be 440-438, Oklahoma City. “We’re very even as you can see. Every game has really showed that,” Brooks said. “Both teams are very good and both teams, it’s even. It’s even. It’s why we’re 2-2. It’s two very good teams getting after each other.”
Once again, Russell Westbrook hogged the ball with frequency. He put up 33 shots and scored a postseason career high 40 points, but often he looked to force drives and shots when nothing was really there. Perhaps he feels he HAS TO do this given the offensive deficiencies of 3 of the Thunder’s 5 starters (Perkins, Sefolosha, and Ibaka). Westbrook and Durant combined for 75 points, 5 times the offensive output of the other three starters’ combined. Brooks realizes that even with only two prime time scorers, the Thunder at an advantage compared to most teams…
“When you put a guy on Kevin, that means that guy’s not helping. They’re not leaving Kevin. And when they throw an extra defender on Kevin, that means you have a mini fast break on the weak side, and that allows Russell and our guys to create,” Brooks said.
The Grizzlies received 76 points from THREE starters (Conley, Randolph, and Marc Gasol). But it was the Grizzlies bench that provided the surprise spark that brought them back into the game. O.J. Mayo and Greivous Vasquez combined for 32 off the bench and outscored starters Tony Allen and Sam Young, who managed only 6 points between themselves (Young failed to score) while going 3 of 14 from the floor.
With both teams having a couple of non-scoring starters on the court, it becomes less important, but the Grizzlies must get a better game from Zach Randolph if they are going to win in Oklahoma City. He shot 9 of 25 from the floor (36%) and played 56 minutes. He’s going to have to dig into his reserves to pull a good game out tonight.
Some betting trends:
Memphis is 15-8 in their last 23 games and the Grizziles are 17-5-1 ATS in their last 23 games. The total has gone OVER in 6 of Memphis’ last 7 games while the Grizzlies are 2-5 SU in their last 7 on the road. Memphis is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games on the road and the total has gone OVER in 6 of Memphis’ last 7 games on the road. The total has also gone OVER in 8 of Memphis’ last 9 games against the Thunder. Memphis is 4-2 SU in their last 6 against OKC and the Grizzlies aer 7-16-1 ATS in their last 24 games on the road in OKC. The total has gone OVER in all 5 of the last 5 road games in OKC.
Oklahoma City is 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games and 11-4 SU in their last 15 games. The total has gone OVER in 4 of OKC’s last 6 games at home and the Thunder are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games at home. Oklahoma City is 4-8-1 ATS in their last 13 games at home. The total has gone OVER in 8 of OKC’s last 9 games against Memphis and the Thunder are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games against Memphis. The Thunder are 2-4 ATS in their last 6 against Grizzlies and they are 18-7 SU in their last 25 at home against Memphis. The total has gone OVER in all 5 of the last 5 games at home against the Grizzlies.
Tonight’s game will offer insight as to which team has the quickest recovery time. Both teams have “young legs,” though, so it might not be as bad as some expect. I don’t think the 57 minutes took too much out of Durant, whose game is so effortless due to his immense talent. Westbrook’s overzealous offensive approach needs to be curtailed though to get his teammates more involved.