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OKC Thunder vs Memphis Grizzlies Game 4 Gambling Preview & Free NBA Picks

Thunder vs Grizzlies NBA Handicapping

The media have been swirling like a pack of hungry sharks around the offensive discord of the Oklahoma City Thunder in this series. Is Russell Westbrook dissatisfied sharing the limelight with Kevin Durant? Is he too “me-first”? Has head coach Scott Brooks lost all conceptions of offensive game-planning? [ad-4468020]

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Date/Time: Saturday, April 26 2014, 9:30 pm EST
Venue: FedExForum, Memphis TN
OKC -3.5, Memphis +3.5
Over/Under: 189
Memphis leads 7-Game Series 2-1

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The more important question is: Has all this drama destroyed OKC’s chemistry in the first round of the NBA Playoffs?

As much as the media may try to over-analyze the psychology of Westbrook, the most troubling theme for Oklahoma City so far has been the lack of creativity on offense.

The Thunder literally have no offensive strategy apart from getting the ball to Durant. Granted, KD is the currently the best scorer in the world and will probably win NBA MVP, but when a stout defensive team like Memphis can key in on a player so much – even one of the caliber of Durant – an offense spins its wheels.

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Game 3 – a 98-95 OT loss for OKC – saw highly inefficient shooting from Durant and Westbrook, which is out-of-character for these players (especially for Durant). KD bricked all eight of his 3-point attempts in the game and though Durant and Westbrook scored 30 apiece, the two stars went 19-of-53 from the field.

This ineffective ball-hogging is exactly what’s to blame for the series deficit.

Brooks and the Thunder can’t forget that they have to use Westbrook’s amazing athleticism and a cast of try-hard role players who can do a bit of scoring; it can’t just be Durant bailing you out time after time. This is especially true in the playoffs and even more true when an opponent is playing as cohesively as the Grizzlies.
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Unlike the Indiana Pacers in the East, Memphis’s best players are playing like it.

Low-post player Zach Randolph is almost putting up a 20-10 line (points/rebounds); center Marc Gasol and PG Mike Conley are also playing excellent basketball. The Grizzlies also have a defensive gem in Tony Allen, who constantly puts his body on the line to stifle an opponent.

Memphis has won four straight playoff games on its home court against the Thunder. The Grizz will look to make it five as Oklahoma City is nearing desperation mode.

If the favored Thunder lose this series, Brooks will almost certainly be fired. With the unoriginal offensive movement the Thunder have shown, it might not be such a bad thing.

Even amidst all this controversy, it’s tough to discount OKC. Durant and Westbrook are two of the league’s best that might quite possibly just bounce back after a poor outing, and that will be the end of that.

Still, Westbrook must be content with KD being the unquestioned alpha-dog, and being the best Robin-to-KD’s-Batman in the Association. Further discord will be disastrous to OKC’s chances in this series, and maybe even its legacy as a whole.

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Memphis will keep doing what it does, which is getting a well-rounded team effort and leaving everything on the court.

Durant is good enough to neutralize an entire team when he’s at his best, and when he plays in harmony with Westbrook with them both feeling it, the Thunder are damn-near unbeatable. If OKC can get back to that, it can snatch back control of the series and get back on track.

I think Durant and Westbrook are just too talented and they will elevate their game in order to shut everyone up. There should be a sense of urgency in Memphis on Saturday night and Oklahoma City are equipped to change the team’s narrative in this series.

Oklahoma City 107, Memphis 96
Take the OVER

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James has been naming every player on the EA Sports video game rosters for half a decade now, he’s finally putting his knowledge to better use writing for us here at CappersPicks.com. Your comments are welcome below…Give Us Your Take!


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