San Antonio’s 105-83 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals series laid down a marker to their opponents and their next encounter could follow the same script.
The Spurs attack was inspired in the opening tie, converting 14 of 29 three point chances, as the hosts made a mockery of the much-vaunted Grizzlies defence.
Memphis ranked as the second-best team in the NBA at defending long range efforts, with just 33.8 per cent conceded from outside the three point line during the regular season.
Until their most recent 22-point collapse, Lionel Hollins’ team had remained stoical during the play-offs too, with a restrictive 33.7 per cent allowance of big scores maintaining their impressive record.
However, when the two sides reconvene at the AT&T Center in Texas there’s likely to be little respite for 9/5 priced Grizzlies.
San Antonio are heavy 10/21 straight-up favourites for a reason and their recent meetings with the visitors point towards another Spurs victory.
Memphis are 2-7 in their last nine ties with their Western rivals and 0-5 on the road from as many matches when playing in San Antonio.
The two most recent match-ups at the AT&T have witnessed 22 and 21 point victories in favour of the Texans so the 3/1 for the Spurs to cover a 15-point spread may not be too unrealistic.
If the misfiring Grizzlies are to avenge their Game 1 defeat and level the series then key players such as Zach Randolph will have to up their game.
Randolph was desperately disappointed with his 1-for-8 performance in the opener, however those poor figures were in marked contrast to his 20.9 points average in the first round of the playoffs.
But if bettors believe that Randolph and his team-mates will fail to spark once again, the 5/6 for Memphis to shoot under 88.5 points – a figure they’ve gone below in three of their last four games – could be the way to go.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publication