Game One of the Western Conference Finals wasn’t ever particularly competitive. The Spurs raced out to a double-digit lead early and kept a comfortable margin for most of the game. Will they be able to replicate the performance in Game Two and take a commanding 2-0 lead?
Let’s dig inside a few of tonight’s key swing points and take a look at tonight’s game from a wagering perspective.
Memphis Grizzlies at San Antonio Spurs -5.5 (Total: 181.5)
The Spurs dominated Game One, and they didn’t do it with the usual suspects carrying the load. Yes, Tony Parker was fantastic and controlled the offensive flow of the game, but Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined took only 13% of the Spurs shot attempts. That means the offense was coming from a lot of other places en route to a twenty two point victory, namely Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and the aptly dubbed ‘Red Mamba’, Matt Bonner. Can the Spurs continue to get excellent contributions from their role players? If they do, it’s hard to see them losing at home. And there is reason to believe they will continue to excel, as most of the shots those three made came from behind the arc and were a direct result of Tony Parker’s penetration and the Spurs unselfish ball movement.
The second big question is, will Zack Randolph show up for Game Two? The big man was non-existent in the opener, tallying just two points and becoming a real defensive liability on the floor. They must get some production out of him tonight, somewhere in the neighborhood of a big 20/10 game, if they want to even up this series.
And lastly, how will Mike Conley respond to being thoroughly outplayed by Tony Parker in Game One? He was able to go toe-to-toe with Chris Paul in the first round, and will need to play at that same level to give the Grizz a chance to compete.
Overall, I still think Memphis is fine. They lost the opener in each of the last two series, and are still standing. Granted, they didn’t lose in quite as uninspiring fashion, but they were able to rebound nonetheless. They still have some personnel advantages inside if they are playing at their peak, and this is still one of the toughest, if not THE toughest defensive teams in the league. The Spurs made a lot of shots in the first game, and the Grizz did not. Sometimes it is just that simple, and all it takes for a game to get away from you – as it did the Grizz in Game One.
I like them to bounce back tonight and play well. Remember, NBA Playoff series are full of ebbs and flows. More often than not, the team that looked helpless one night looks like world-beaters the next. I am banking on that same bounce-back effort from Memphis tonight and am taking them to cover the 5.5 point spread.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies +5.5