Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Game 7 Expert Picks, Odds and Predictions – NBA Playoffs Betting Preview 5/15/11: A back-and-forth series will come to an end Sunday, and either the Memphis Grizzlies or Oklahoma City Thunder will be moving on to the Western Conference finals. As far as drama and excitement goes, it is tough to top a Game 7, especially between two of the NBA’s youngest and most athletic teams. In a series that has seen everything from blowout wins to blown leads to a triple overtime thriller, it seems only fitting that the deciding game go down to the wire. The only thing better than watching a Game 7 is having some money on it. Heading into the series finale, the Thunder are favored by 6 ½ points with the over/under set at 191 points.
On paper, Oklahoma City would appear to have an edge being the higher seed and having home court advantage. However, the Grizzlies have more than proven themselves much better than their No. 8 seed would suggest. In addition, both teams have won on the opponent’s home court during the series. As much as the Thunder may want it to be, Game 7 isn’t going to be decided by the arena. This game is going to be settled by the players.
During the first six games, Memphis has held a decided advantage in the paint on the offensive end, while the Thunder have excelled on the perimeter. Zach Randolph has carried the load for the Grizzlies as he continues to use this postseason to establish himself as a premier power forward in the league. For OKC, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have combined to do most of the damage, although there has been a lot of controversy over which of the two stars should be leading the way.
Based on what has happened thus far, it is becoming obvious that even with the addition Kendrick Perkins that the Thunder don’t have an answer for Randolph in the post. He is scoring 30-plus points on a regular basis, and he is closing out games in the fourth quarter. The key for the Grizzlies is going to be getting production out of the other players on the team. Mike Conley, Marc Gasol and O.J. Mayo are just a few of the names that have shined during the postseason, but Randolph has been the only consistent option. Randolph is great, but he won’t be able to win Game 7 by himself.
With both Westbrook and Durant at their disposal, the Thunder normally don’t have to worry about getting production from multiple sources. However, Durant is coming off one of his worst games of the season. He was stifled by Shane Battier and Tony Allen in Game 6, missing 11 of his final 12 shots. If the Grizzlies can do the same in Sunday’s game, their chances of winning skyrocket. That being said, the poor performance could end up motivating the two-time defending NBA scoring champ. Durant is destined for stardom, and a big performance in a Game 7 would add to his legacy.
If the outcome of Sunday’s game was based on talent alone, the Thunder would have the edge. However, the Grizzlies have shown an undeniable tenacity throughout the postseason. After all, there is a reason that Memphis was a No. 8 seed but has managed to get within a game of the Western Conference finals. Already in this series, they have rallied from huge deficits, survived elimination and frustrated the league’s top scorer. Randolph and company just seem to want to win more than everyone else, and even if the Grizzlies don’t have enough left in the tank to pull off the upset, they will keep it close and cover the 6 ½ point spread. Bettors should take the over on the 191 points as well. The teams have surpassed the total in four of the six games thus far in the playoffs and in all the regular season matchups. Overtime is a definite possibility as well, which would easily push the total over 200 points.
Free Picks: Memphis Grizzlies (+6 ½) Cover the Spread, Teams Score Over 191 points
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|GAME 7 Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
Time: 3:35 PM EST on ABC
2011 NBA 2nd Round Playoffs Series: Series Tied 3-3
Vegas Odds –
Favorite: Oklahoma City -6.5(pointspread) Total: Over/Under 191.5
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