May 13, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
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Take Memphis at +10 spread (buy half a point) against Golden State risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Warriors were in desperation mode in Game 4 after losing two straight to the Grizzlies and we had wisely backed them in what was a must win situation as they came away with a dominant 101-84 victory. While that was a much needed win for the Warriors, we don't necessarily feel that much has changed in this series. The playoffs are all about making adjustments and Steve Kerr ultimately made the ones necessary to guide his team to a victory in that particular game. A big part of their success was the fact that Memphis didn’t seem to play with the same level of intensity that they had employed in Games 2 & 3 and that allowed the Warriors to finally find their shooting stroke after a two game hiatus. Curry, Thompson and company shot near 50% from the field, basically from start to finish and more importantly, the coaching staff finally had an answer for Tony Allen, who has been having his way defensively with Klay Thompson earlier in the series.
Rather than try to matchup with the size of the Grizzlies and attempt to navigate through their defense the Warriors did something extremely risky, which happened to pay off. They switched to a 5-on-4 defense, and opted to ignore Tony Allen on the offensive entirely. The small forward was defended by either Center Andrew Bogut or Forward Draymond Green. Both men would simply be positioned in the center of the paint for the entire possession basically ignoring Tony Allen no matter where he went on the court. Meanwhile, Harrison Barnes would defend the much larger Marc Gasol or Zach Randolph with a defensive assist from the center fielder and that combination worked. The Warriors basically adopted a kind of zone defense, which saw one big, such as Bogut, roam the paint and help out on any threat in the middle. That allowed Golden State to pack the paint and also defend the perimeter with their best defenders essentially making it as if there was a 6th man on the court! Because of this style of defense, Memphis was faced with an extremely tough decision. They could either leave their best defender, Tony Allen on the court to try and defend the Warriors, while limiting their own offense; or they could sub out Allen for a more credible offensive threat like Jeff Green who can't defend as effectively. Memphis was trying to adjust all game long and was never really a threat in Game 4. We expect them to bounce back tonight.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for Golden State in its matchup against Memphis' gritty defense and even though they won game 4, they still had 21 total turnovers in that game. Memphis was unable to capitalize last game, but we don’t expect that to be the case again tonight if Golden State continues to turn the ball over at such an alarming rate. Also Mo Speights is an under-rated player who'll be missed in tonight game. He has been a big part of the Warriors bench and had nailed down his mid-range jumper which is a big part of their offense. David Lee is also not yet at 100% so Speights' absence will be missed that much more. Ultimately his absence will likely not make a difference in terms of a win or a loss; it could however be the difference in an ATS cover. We personally handicapped this game at Golden State -7 so there is great value in getting +10 tonight.
It was only a couple of games ago where people had given up hope on the Warriors just because of a couple of poor performances. People were ready to claim that Memphis was going to upset the number 1 seed and move on in the tournament and now after a single performance, those same people are ready to jump back onto the Golden State bandwagon. While there is no doubt that the Warriors are a much different team at home, to believe that they are a double digit favorite over a quality team like the Grizzlies is simply too much of a stretch. The odds makers have once again made the Warriors substantial favorites, despite their inconsistent efforts thus far and now we are heading into arguably the most important game of the series. Game 5 has often proved to be the most pivotal game in the series, especially considering the series is tied 2 games apiece at the moment. The winner of Game 5 will be in the driver’s seat for the remainder of this series, so we expect both teams to put forth a quality effort to win this game tonight.
At this point in the series there is not much more than can be said about both of these teams. Both teams are fierce, quality teams. Even though this is a 2-2 series which shows just how equal these two teams are, each individual game has been very one-sided. Memphis easily won two and Golden State similarly blew out Memphis twice. There has yet to be one close game in this series and only one game was won by less than double-digits! This is very unusual, especially in the playoffs where games are often decided in the final few minutes or end up going right down to the wire. Both teams have comfortably led at half time in each of the previous games and we just don't see that happening again tonight. Regardless of which side ultimately comes away with the victory, we believe this game will be a lot more closely contested game than the first 4 in this series which makes the 10 points extremely precious. While we believe the Warriors will ultimately edge out a victory in the end, the points should come into play as we don’t see either team losing by double digits again this series.
Memphis has of course more than proven that it can hang with the Warriors and is a far better side than most game them credit for prior to this series. Let’s not forget that we have been spot on with our analysis in this series have correctly backed both Memphis and golden State at the absolutely correct moments in this series. After an impressive performance by Golden State in Game 4, this line is once again inflated and the price is once again right to back an extremely tough and solid Memphis team.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Warriors are just 2-8 ATS after their last 10 wins!
- Grizzlies are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games following a loss!
- Grizzlies are 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings against Golden State!
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