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2011 NBA Playoff Odds: Grizzlies vs. Thunder Preview | Pick

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF Predictions: Grizzlies vs Thunder Series Preview

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Game 1 – Sunday May 1, 1:00PM (ABC)
Game 2 – Tuesday May 3, 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 3 – Saturday May 7, 5:00PM (ESPN)
Game 4 – Monday May 9, 9:30PM (TNT)
Game 5 * Wednesday May 11, TBD (TNT)
Game 6 * Friday May 13, TBD (ESPN)
Game 7 * Sunday May 15 TBD
* If necessary
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Odds to Win NBA Title: Thunder +400: Grizzlies +1500
Odds to Win Series: Grizzlies +290, Thunder -350
Season Series: Memphis won 3 of their 4 games against Oklahoma City this season.

Opening Round Playoff Series

Oklahoma City defeated Denver 4-1
Memphis defeated San Antonio 4-2

Injuries of Note: Memphis: Matt Barnes – Rudy Gay – F – Out For Season (shoulder injury)
Xavier Henry – G – Out Indefinitely (knee injury)

OKC: No Injuries to report.

While it is no surprise that the Thunder are in the conference semis it is a surprise that the 8th seed Grizzlies made it after only being the 4th 8th seed to take out a top-seed in the first round of the playoffs. The Thunder did lose 3 of 4 games to the Grizzlies this season, but none of those games came with Kendrick Perkins in the lineup. Memphis comes into this game with a ton of confidence, but can they stop the dynamic Thunder duo of Kevin Westbrook and Russell Westbrook?

While the Grizzlies matched up well with the Spurs they do not match up as well against the Thunder. Memphis is a young and athletic team and facing the older Spurs they ran around them, but they will not be able to do that against the Thunder. On top of that the Spurs did not have a legit C while the Thunder now have Perkins in the middle.

Shane Battier’s defense is key in this series, as he is long and played good D against Durant in the 4 games they faced each other in the regular season. In those games Durant settled for long jump shots and he cannot do that in this series, as he has to be aggressive and attack the rim.

Westbrook will not have an easy time getting to the hoop against the Grizzlies facing guards Mike Conley and Tony Allen, as these 2 have to keep him from getting in the lane and breaking down the Memphis defense. NBA Betting

It is not hard to pinpoint the key player for the Grizzlies in this series, as it is Zach Randolph. He came up huge in the San Antonio Series and on the season against the Thunder he averaged 26.5 ppg and 13 rpg. However, the weak Thunder interior D was the reason they went out and got Perkins, who must play well against Randolph as well as Memphis C Marc Gasol. He will also need help from Serge Ibaka, who had a great series against Denver.

Battier will be guarding Durant and he and the Grizzlies have to slow down the Thunder and make this a half court game. If Memphis allows the Thunder to run they will not be able to keep up.

Memphis will need to get some good bench scoring from O.J. Mayo and even though Battier usually comes off the bench he may start in this series for his defense on Durant. On the other side of the coin James Harden provides instant offense off the bench for the Thunder and he and Ibaka have to provide some offense to take off some pressure off Durant and Westbrook.

The Thunder have been a better team on the boards this season ranking 8th in the league in boards per game while the Grizzlies rank 16th. Gasol and Randolph have to not only play well on offense, but they have to hit the glass as well.

Betting Prediction

The Grizzlies are coming off their first playoff series win ever, but they will not win this series. Durant and Westbrook will be way too much for Memphis to handle. On top of that Perkins is key, as he gives the Thunder inside presence. Memphis will give the Thunder a series, but I see Oklahoma winning in 6 games.

Pick: Thunder In 6

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Jason Green is back with Cappers Picks again to give out his free sports plays. As always he's hoping the Braves and Redskins can win a championship since their last one in the 90’s was long ago. He’s starting to know the pain of Cubs fans.