NBA Playoffs Game Four Betting Preview: #2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #7 Memphis Grizzlies

2014 NBA Playoffs
Western Conference Quarterfinals Game #4

#2 Oklahoma City Thunder at #7 Memphis Grizzlies 
Grizzlies Lead Best of Seven Series 2-1
FedEx Forum – Memphis, Tennessee
Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:35 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -2 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -3
Opening Total: 188
Current Total: 188 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -160 / Grizzlies +135
Current Money Line: Thunder  -160 / Grizzlies +135

Memphis looks to take a commanding 3-1 series lead against Oklahoma City Saturday night in game four of the Western Conference quarterfinals series.
Memphis looks to take a commanding 3-1 series lead against Oklahoma City Saturday night in game four of the Western Conference quarterfinals series.

The Oklahoma City Thunder won game one of the Western Conference quarterfinals series 100-86 against the Memphis Grizzlies. However, in games two and three, OKC rallied from fourth quarter deficits to force overtime before faltering in the extra period in both games. Now down, 2-1 the Thunder face a virtual must win on the road Saturday night in Memphis to avoid a 3-1 series hole.

In Thursday night’s game three in Memphis, Oklahoma City was down 17 points in the fourth quarter with 7:43 left. The Thunder would go on a 17-0 run to tie the game at 81 with 57 seconds left. Mmephis would score two quick buckets to make it 85-81. OKC guard Russell Westbrook hit a 3 pointer and was fouled by Memphis guard Tony Allen. Westbrook hit the free throw to tie the game. Each team got a good luck at the potential game winner, but neither converted. In overtime, Oklahoma city took an 88-85 lead on a three point play. However, the Thunder would hit only 3 of 12 field goals in overtime. Memphis escaped with the 98-95 overtime win to take command of the series.

Both Westbrook and Kevin Durant scored 30 points for the Thunder, but neither shot the ball very well. Durant was 10/27 from the field including 0/8 from 3 point range. He also added 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and 5 blocks. Westbrook shot 9/26 from the field and grabbed 13 rebounds.  The problem is no one else on the Thunder is doing much. Serge Ibaka scored 12 points, but no other OKC player scored more than 7 points. The Thunder had 9 bench points Thursday night.

Memphis had much more balanced scoring with four starters in double digits and 32 points off the bench. Mike Conley led the Grizzlies with 20 points. Tony Allen and Zach Randolph each scored 16 for Memphis.

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. OKC is 43-39-2 ATS and the total is 44-40 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 coached by David Joerger. The Grizzlies are 38-44-3 ATS and the total is 41-44 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. 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 14-3 ATS in Saturday games, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 1-4-1 after a straight up loss, 2-8 in road games, 1-5 overall, and 1-7 against teams with winning home records.

Memphis is 7-1 ATS in first round playoff games, 4-1 in Saturday games, 5-2-1 overall, 39-16 against teams with winning road records, 4-10-1 after a straight up win, 3-9-1 against Western Conference teams, 2-6 against Northwest Division teams, and 2-7-1 on one day rest. The home team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 games in this series. The Grizzlies are 8-3-1 ATS in the last 12 games against the Thunder, including 4-1 in Memphis.

Westbrook and Durant are getting theirs as great players do. However, the rest of the Thunder have to contribute more. Memphis is just double teaming Durant and sometimes Westbrook, while the rest of the OKC players stand around waiting for the two superstars to do something. If Oklahoma City is a true title contender, this is the sort of game they should win with their backs against the wall. A loss will put them in serious jeopardy and on the brink of elimination. I think the Thunder even the series on the back of an epic game from Durant.

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