2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #2
#7 Memphis Grizzlies at #2 Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder Lead Best of Seven Series 1-0
Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Monday, April 21, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: TNT
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -7 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -7
Opening Total: 189 1/2
Current Total: 189 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -325 / Grizzlies +265
Current Money Line: Thunder -340 / Grizzlies +280
Five of the eight higher seeds lost game one at home in the opening weekend of the NBA Playoffs. Only the San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Miami Heat were able to protect home court advantage in their respective series. The #2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder look to take a 2-0 series lead Monday night as they host the Memphis Grizzlies in game #2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals. The Grizzlies would love to steal a game as the series moves to Memphis for games three and four starting Thursday night.
Oklahoma City won the Northwest Division by 5 games over the Portland Trail Blazers. Memphis finished third in the Southwest Division behind the 62-20 San Antonio Spurs. The Southwest sent four teams to the playoffs including the Spurs and Grizzlies along with the Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.
In Saturday’s game #1, Oklahoma City would take a 25 point lead in the first half and would lead by 22 at halftime. However, in the third quarter, OKC would only make 3 field goals and score 13 points. The Grizzlies would claw their way back into the game and trail by only four heading into the fourth. Memphis cut the lead to two points with just under 9 minutes to go in the fourth. However, Kevin Durant got hot for the Thunder scoring 13 of his 33 points in the fourth. Oklahoma City pulled away again and ended up winning 100-86 to secure the game one victory. It is somewhat amazing Memphis was even able to make it a game considering they shot just 36% from the field and missed 13 of 31 free throws. OKC has won 4 of the 5 meetings against Memphis this season including all three meetings at Chesapeake.
Memphis is coached by David Joerger. The Grizzlies had won 6 of their last 7 games, including 5 straight before Saturday. Memphis can take solace in the fact that the Thunder and Grizzlies are meeting in the playoffs for the third time in four years. The team that won game one has gone on to lose the series both times. The Grizzlies are 36-44-3 ATS and the total is 39-44 this season.
Memphis is outscoring teams 96-95 this season. The Grizzlies are #3 in points allowed but #27 out of 30 teams in scoring. Memphis is shooting 46.4% from the field and 35.3% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are #7 in field goal percentage. Memphis makes 74.1% of their free throws and is #23 in the league. Opponents are shooting 45% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are 12th or better in both categories. Memphis averages 42.4 rebounds per game and opponents average 39.2 per game. The Grizzlies are #19 in rebounding but lead the league in rebounds allowed. Memphis averages 21.8 assists, 13.7 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 19.9 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 7.2 steals, and 5 blocks per game.
Forward Zach Randolph averages 17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Point guard Mike Conley averages 17.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Center Marc Gasol averages 14.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Courtney Lee averages 11 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1 steal per game. Guard Tony Allen averages 9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. James Johnson, Mike Miller, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince and Ed Davis will also get significant minutes. Price left the game Saturday with an illness and is questionable for game #2. Back-up point guard Nick Calathes was suspended 20 games by the league for violating the substance abuse policy and will miss the series. Guard Quincy Pondexter is out for the season with a broken foot.
Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 43-37-2 ATS and the total is 42-40 this season.
Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 106-100 this season. The Thunder are #5 in scoring and #12 in points allowed. OKC is shooting 47.1% from the field and 36.1% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #6 in field goal percentage and #14 in three point shooting. Oklahoma City is second in the league in free throw shooting at 80.6% from the line. Opponents are shooting 43.6% from the field and 35.8% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Oklahoma City averages 44.7 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.9 per game. The Thunder are #7 in rebounding and #3 in rebounds allowed. OKC averages 21.9 assists, 15.5 turnovers, 8.2 steals and 6.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 21.8 assists, 15.1 turnovers, 8.3 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.
Durant is having the best season of his already stellar career, having taken his game to another level. He won his fourth straight scoring title at 32 points per game, and also averages 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game. Point guard Russell Westbrook averages 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 1.9 steals per game. He is playing some of the best basketball of his career as well since he returned from knee surgery in late February. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 15.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1 assist and 2.7 blocks per game. Ibaka is second in the league in blocks. Guard Reggie Jackson averages 13.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Forward Caron Butler, acquired at the trade deadline from the Milwaukee Bucks, averages 9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jeremy Lamb, Thabo Sefolosha, Derek Fisher, Nick Collison, Perry Jones, Kendrick Perkins, and Steven Adams will also get significant minutes in the rotation. Sefolosha and Perkins returned to line-up late in the regular season after both missed significant games due to injury.
Memphis is 5-1 ATS in conference quarterfinal games, 4-1 after a straight up loss of 10 points or more, 2-6 against teams with winning records, 3-9-1 overall, 3-12-2 against Western Conference teams, 1-5 when the opponent scores 100 points or more in the previous game, 1-7 after failing to cover, 1-7-1 on one day rest, 1-8-1 in road games, 1-9 against teams with winning home records, and 0-6 against Northwest Division teams. The over is 14-6 in Oklahoma City in this series.
Oklahoma City is 5-1-1 ATS at home, 4-1 against Western Confererence teams and after scoring 100 points, 9-3-1 against teams with winning road records, 13-5-1 against southwest Division teams, 5-2 after a straight up win, 17-8-1 on one day rest, 3-7 in Monday games, and 3-7-1 when the opponent allows 100 points or more in the previous game. The favorite is 4-0-1 ATS in this series recently and the home team is 3-0-1. The Thunder are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five against the Grizzlies.
Memphis was a trendy pick to pull off the upset in the series against the Thunder because of how well the Grizzlies had played down the stretch. They obviously still can, but they need to be much better on offense. Their defense allowed to climb back into the game in the second half, but Memphis needs to get off to a better start. I think the Thunder win game two but it will be much closer than game one.