What a game, what a series, what a “welcome to stardom” 48 hours for the Pacers Paul George. Man, that series in Miami was phenomenal this week – and we are a nice perfect 3-0 ATS over the last week of NBA picks as well – but more importantly, it looks like we are going to have a good, deep, competitive series out East.
The question now is, can the West follow suit? The Grizzlies today are in a virtual must-win Game Three, trialing 2-0 in the series and heading home. Can Tony Allen and Zack Randolph bounce back and give the Grizzlies the lift they need to get back in the series? Let’s dig inside some key matchups that’ll shape tonight’s contest.
Today’s Free Pick:
San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies -5 (Total: 178.5)
Memphis Grizzlies fan can look at Game Two in two distinctly different ways (if they can remember all the way back to Tuesday when this series last took place…). They can choose to take comfort in the fact that they battled ALL the way back, improbably, from an 18-point defecit on the road to force overtime in San Antonio. OR, they can look at it as Tim Duncan has dominated Randolph and Gasol, the one supposed advantage the Grizz possessed, and they are now in a 2-0 hole against one of the best teams in the NBA for the last decade.
Surprisingly, I’d look at the first and take comfort. Memphis is no stranger to finding themselves in an early hole in a series. They fell down 2-0 for the Clippers before winning five straight and they lost the opener to Oklahoma City before against taking four straight. I think Vegas reflects this same confidence, installing a team trailing 0-2 as a five point favorite in Game Three.
I think we all expect Z-Bo to wake up and get going in this series. But to me, the real key is the awakening of Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince. The Grizz have been playing 5 on 3 on offense with these two disappearing, so when Z-Bo has struggled, they were lost. If they can get some contributions from Allen and Prince, they can be a dominant defensive team without giving away too much punch on offense.
I like Memphis’s role players to show up today and finally edge the role players of San Antonio. Look for Pondexter and Bayless to provide big offensive lifts, and for them along with the two aforementioned Grizz role players to finally outplay the Danny Green, Kawhi Leonard, Matt Bonner (and to some extent Manu Ginobili) group and to give the Grizz the lift they need to get back into the series.
Give me the Grizzlies at home, even laying the five points.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies -5