May 15, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)
Take Memphis Grizzlies at +5 spread against Golden State Warriors risking 3% of the bankroll.
The Grizzlies played well in the early part of the series taking a 2-1 lead but it's been a different story recently. They have looked like a shell of their former selves, especially on the offensive end where they have scored just 79 and 84 points (respectively) in their last 2 games! In the early part of the series it had been the Grizzlies defense that has frustrated the Warriors, however as of late; their defense has been nearly non-existent. Golden State has the most explosive offense in the league and if the Grizzlies want to have any kind of success in extending this series to a Game 7, they will need to get back to the type of basketball that has carried them to this point in the season.
The Grizzlies do have a lot going for them in this contest and an upset is not improbable. Memphis is 35-11 at home this year. They have scored 99.1 points per game on 45.3% shooting overall and 33.9% from long range at FedEx Forum this season. Defensively they have been suffocating, allowing just 92.8 points per game on 45.9% shooting overall and 33.6% shooting from long range. Their season all comes down to this. The Grizzlies have seemingly played their best in the underdog role and they find themselves in that role again as they play for their playoff lives tonight.
Even though momentum may clearly be in the Warriors favor heading into this contest all hope is not lost. There's no doubt that FedEx Forum will be packed and the fans will be ready to cheer their team on. We expect the Grizzlies will come out of the gate with revenge on their minds, and the crowd will help energize them. The return of Tony Allen tonight will also equal an increase of steals for the Grizzlies and his presence on defense will help contain the Warriors' hot shooting they've had the past two games. We expect that Klay Thompson will also struggle with Allen guarding him once again. Zach Randolph should do a much better job at containing Draymond Green and Marc Gasol will bounce back from a couple of rather mediocre performances.
As this series has gone on, Gasol has seemingly played progressively worse. It seems like Golden State has figured out how to frustrate him on the court and he has let it get to him the past few games. In Game 4, although he had 19 points, he went just 7 for 19 from the field (36.8%). It was the same in Game 5. He scored 18 points but only shot 36.4% from the field, going just 8 for 22. This is far below his season average of 49.4%. He appeared visibly frustrated in the last game as he was clanking wide open free throw line jumpers and he didn't attack the basket enough. He's also had just 8 combined free throw attempts in the last 2 games. Marc Gasol is unquestionably the best player on his team and we expect him to step up in a big way tonight. We expect to see him attacking the rim more and wouldn't be surprised to see a huge increase in his time at the free throw line.
When we stated we expected Memphis to get back to doing what had gotten them here in the first place, we meant it. The Grizzlies need to attack the paint. In Game 5 they shot only 39.8% from the field and they shot even worse in the paint. The Grizzlies have had a lot of trouble converting in the lane the past couple of games, whether they're missed lay-ups or missed put-backs, they simply couldn't get a shot to fall. That is unusual for this team and not something that we expect to continue. If Memphis wants to extend the series tonight, they must convert the shots that they usually make in the paint. Tony Allen is great at cutting underneath the basket and getting some easy points, so even though he is mostly known for his defensive prowess, getting him back for tonight's contest could help out the Grizzlies on the offensive end as well. They have to make the Warriors play physical in the paint and they can't shy away from contact. If Memphis can start converting their buckets from point blank range then that solve their scoring woes that have plagued them as of late.
We expect the Grizzlies to give it all they have tonight and leave everything on the court. Their season isn't over yet, but a loss tonight means that it will be. Memphis has to come out of the gate differently than they have the past two games. They have to hustle ad scramble for the loose balls and they have to rebound better, things that have eluded them the last two contests. Although Golden State and Memphis had very similar rebound and steal numbers the past two games, the Warriors made the Grizzlies pay for every mistake they made and capitalized on every steal and offensive rebound. Memphis has to make Golden State pay for their mistakes and value every possession. It has to be a team effort and everyone has to leave everything on the floor and that’s what we expect happens tonight.
Much like earlier in the series, after two consecutive victories, everyone has seemingly given up on the Grizzlies and expect the Warriors to close out the series tonight. After they have once again found their "shot" people are quick to jump back on the Golden State bandwagon. While Golden State could in fact close out the series tonight, we believe they will have a hard time covering the spread. Memphis has a great home record, a great straight up record and have proven to be incredibly dangerous as underdogs. Even if they fall short of getting the win and forcing a Game 7, we believe they will be right there at the end and the points will come into play. Each game of this series for the most part has been extremely one sided, whether it be a Golden State victory or a Memphis win, one team has often dominated which is rare for the playoffs. We expect things to once again revert back to the norm as Game 6 likely turns into the close back and forth contest that we have yet to see in this series. If things play out as we expect them to then the points will become extremely precious at the end.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Grizzlies are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven home games.
- Warriors are 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games on the road.
- Grizzlies are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games following a loss!
- Grizzlies are 32-21 ATS when playing against a team with a winning record.
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