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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Pick

NBA Gambling Online: Memphis Grizzlies vs Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Lines Preview

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Date/Time: Sunday, May 1, 1:05 PM ET
Venue: Oklahoma City Arena in Oklahoma City, OK.
Broadcast: ABC
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Lines from Bookmaker
Money Line: Memphis +245, Oklahoma City -300,
Spread: Oklahoma -6 ½
Over/Under: 196 ½

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The Memphis Grizzlies will have less than 48 hours to celebrate their most significant achievement in franchise history and then prepare for their bout with Kevin Durant and the Thunder in the first game of the 2011 NBA Western Conference Semifinals on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Memphis did the improbable on Friday night, recording its first playoff series victory ever after eliminating the Western Conference’s No. 1 seeded and Southwest Division titleholder San Antonio Spurs, 99-91 in Game 6 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

As a franchise, the Grizzlies were 0-12 all-time in the postseason coming into the series, having been swept in all three of its previous playoff appearances. Now they are just the second No. 8 seed in NBA history to dispatch a No. 1 in the first round since the best- of-seven format was instituted.

The Grizzlies outpaced a tired and aging Spurs squad down the stretch. Forward Zach Randolph poured in 31 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lift his team to victory. He scored 17 of his points in the fourth quarter, hitting 6-of-8 shots from a just about everywhere on the floor.

But how will Memphis adjust, if at all, their game plan against the Thunder who are perhaps the best young team in basketball.

Oklahoma City, the reigning Northwest Division champs, toppled the Nuggets in five games during the first round of the playoffs, leaning heavily on two-time scoring champion Durant, All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook and the defensive play of big men Serge Ibaka, and center Kendrick Perkins.

Against the Nuggets, the Thunder did a good job, pulling off all the clutch plays when they were trailing by nine and facing a Game 6 in Denver. No doubt the expectation to win has returned.

Vegas says OKC is the favorite, and I have to agree. The Thunder has home court advantage and they have Durant. If all goes according to plan, they should win.

Then again, so should have the Spurs.

The two teams have never met in the postseason, but the Grizzlies were an impressive 3-1 against Oklahoma City during the regular season. However, all of those games took place before the Thunder picked up Perkins from Boston.

Recent Trends:
Over is 7-2 in MEM last 9 overall.
Over is 7-2 in MEM last 9 vs. Western Conference.
MEM are 20-6 ATS in their last 26 Sun. games.
Over is 7-2 in OKC last 9 vs. NBA Southwest.
OKC are 7-23 ATS in their last 30 Sun. games.
OKC are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. NBA Southwest.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Thunder – It was all about youth and athleticism for Memphis against San Antonio, but now they have to develop a very different game plan for the Thunder. If the Grizzlies can’t control the tempo early, they could be in trouble. Perkins should be able to lean on Marc Gasol keeping him off the boards, forcing the match up to take place on the perimeter where the Thunder have the edge.

Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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