Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies Game Time: 8:00 pm EST
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies TV Coverage: ESPN
NBA Playoff Odds at JustBet: Oklahoma City -3 Total: 188.5

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Saturday NBA Playoff Analysis: In what has been one of the more entertaining first round series, the Oklahoma City Thunder will try to regain home court advantage when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies in game 4 of their first round playoff series.

Memphis won their second consecutive game in the series on Thursday night, defeating the Thunder 98-95 in overtime. The Thunder made a fourth quarter surge coming back from a 10 point deficit to force overtime, yet the Grizzlies prevailed. The success of Memphis shouldn’t come at a surprise, as they are 37-15 since January1st.Center Marc Gasol missed some significant time earlier in the year, and it definitely cost them as they went 10-13 without him. If he had been healthy throughout the year, one would have to wonder where they would have been seeded. Gasol and power forward Zach Randolph are one of the better inside tandems in the league, and lead one of the better teams in the league on the defensive end allowing just 94.6 ppg throughout the regular season. Point guard Mike Conley has made his presence felt in the playoffs averaging 18.3 ppg, while guard Tony Allen has provided a spark off the bench averaging 12.3 ppg, and of course being adding a defensive intensity as he is one of the leagues best defenders.

Oklahoma City has been in this position before, and this team has the experience to get out of the deficit. The Thunder sure looked good in game 1, downing the Grizzlies 100-86. In that game, Kevin Durant scored 33 points, while Russell Westbrook had 23 and Serge Ibaka chipped in 17. They also got contributions from their bench in that game, with Reggie Jackson and Caron Butler each chipping in 9 points. In the past two games, the Thunder have forced overtime, yet failed to come on the winning end. Durant and Westbrook have been effective, yet no other player has really stepped up on offense. Their offensive flow hasn’t been consistent either, as they’ve shot below 40% in both games, and had a disturbing 16 turnovers in game 3.

Oklahoma City has been one of the better teams in the league all season and defeated Memphis 3 out of the 4 regular season meetings. While taking the points with the Grizzlies is tempting because I see a lot of value, I’m laying the short number and backing the Thunder in game 4. The Thunder doesn’t lose three in a row too often. In fact, it only happened once this season. It was when Russell Westbrook was returning from injury after missing 27 games. They lost to Miami, the Clippers, and Cleveland in consecutive games. I remember the Miami game distinctly because I was backing the Heat. They were in a big revenge spot, and I knew integrating a player of Westbrook’s caliber back into the lineup would disrupt offensive continuity. Like Chicago last night, I can’t see Oklahoma City losing 3 in a row. I fully expect this series to go seven games and expect the Thunder to advance. There is too much skill and veteran leadership to let the team that booted them out of the playoffs last year (sans Russell Westbrook) do it again. If they go down 3-1, it’s a tough road ahead. I don’t see it happening, and I see a total team effort tonight from Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies Free NBA Playoff Pick: Oklahoma City -3 Over 188.5
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies Game Prediction: Oklahoma City 100 Memphis 94

 

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