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April 21st 2014 - Posted at 5:00 PM Eastern Time

Take Memphis Grizzlies at +7 spread against Oklahoma City Thunder risking 2%

The Memphis Grizzlies were bull rushed by the Oklahoma City Thunder right out of the gate in their game 1 matchup. For the first 2 quarters the Grizzlies allowed the Thunder to dictate the pace of the game and went to the locker room down 56-34 at the half! The third quarter however was a very different game as the Grizzlies were able to make adjustments and managed to cut the lead to just 4 points! They however had spent so much energy in digging themselves out of that early hole that they simply ran out of gas in the 4th quarter losing 100-86 eventually.

Memphis is a team that is built around defense and controlling the tempo of the game.  The Grizzlies fell into the trap of allowing OKC playing their brand of basketball. This is not uncommon and the first games of the playoffs are not necessarily indicative of how the series will play out. Emotions are always heightened and each team is looking to assert their dominance over their opponent, which is why we often see things that don't occur the rest of the way.

Memphis is no stranger to playing poorly in their opening game of a playoff series. Many will recall last season when the Grizzlies had to play the Clippers. Blake Griffin and company completely blew the doors off in that first game winning 112-91! The second game was a completely different story however as Memphis slowed the pace of the game down and kept that one close losing 93-91. The Grizzlies then did what very few expected; they went on to win 4 straight against the offensive minded Clippers, holding them to under 100 points in 3 of those games! The Grizzlies realize what adjustments need to be made and should execute better tonight. If they allow games to turn into shootouts, they realize that they are not equipped to keep up. 

The Grizzlies allowed the Thunder to get the jump on them in the early going last time before they forced OKC to play their style in the third. We believe they won't get off to a slow start this time and that will give them the confidence and energy to keep competitive throughout. Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph both had poor shooting performances in the last game. We expect a much better showing from both on the offensive end and for the Grizzlies' defense to slow the pace down and play in the half court. These two teams know each other well and have been in many battles previously. Memphis has had some success against the Thunder over the past few seasons and should be able to keep this close. Take the points as they could come into play.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Memphis is 7-3 ATS when playing in Oklahoma City over the last 3 seasons.
  • Memphis is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games following a loss of 10 or more points. 

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