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Grizzlies’ big men can grab the series lead in LA

| 30.04.2013

With the series tied at 2-2, Memphis Grizzlies (56-26, 5th in the Western Conference) have wrestled the initiative from LA Clippers (56-26, 4th in the West), in what has been the most competitive series in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Both sides have taken each of their home court fixtures, suggesting the advantage now lies with LA for Game 5. However, such has been the swing in the scorelines and level of performances, the Grizzlies have the momentum to break the trend.

They are 2/1 to do so tonight, while the Clippers are 5/12 to take a 3-2 series lead.

The Grizzlies, the NBA’s best defensive side, have gone from dropping the first game by 21 points to winning the fourth by that same margin.

Lionel Hollin’s side have won two of their last three at Staples Centre against the Clippers, the most recent an 85-96 triumph in March, in which the Grizzlies outscored the Clippers 46-30 in points in the paint.

The Grizzlies’ leaders that day were Marc Gasol, the newly-crowned NBA Defensive Player of the Year, and Zach Randolph, who have been the driving force behind the Grizzlies’ ascendance this postseason.

Both scored 24 points in Game 4, and the entire Memphis squad shot 50.6 percent for the game, its highest shooting percentage of the series.

The two big men were also largely responsible for the 45-28 hiding dished out to LA on the boards – a team playoff record. This in turn has translated into a huge advantage in second chance scoring, in which they lead the Clippers 44-6.

Yet while the Grizzlies look well placed to upset the outright odds here, it’s hard to believe this encounter won’t be closely contended; Vinnie Del Negro’s side will surely improve on returning to Staples Centre. They’re rated at 5/6 to score over 92.5 points, a feat they have achieved in both home games so far.

The Total Points line stands at 180, and punters can get 10/11 for that mark to be surpassed – three of the four encounters so far have done so.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

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Author

Toby Calnan