Memphis Grizzlies, Spurs resume NBA betting series

By: Adam Markowitz | Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Last Sunday was filled with carnage for high seeds in NBA playoff betting action. Since the field was expanded to 16 teams, never before had the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the same conference lost a Game 1 on the same day.

However, now the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs can say that they share that dubious distinction.

The Spurs are back in action in a Game 2 that almost feels like a do or die against the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. Tip time from the AT&T Center in San Antonio is slated for 5:30 p.m. (PT), and the duel can be viewed live on NBA TV.

We've ripped Shane Battier before for how he didn't really do much in the way of helping out the Grizz after they traded for him right at this year's deadline. We're not bashing him or the team any longer.

Battier knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer with less than a minute to play in Game 1 to absolutely shock the faithful in San Antonio.

Of course, the argument could be made that a trade deadline deal that never happened – OJ Mayo to the Indiana Pacers – might have saved Memphis' season as well. Mayo and Battier combined to hit five of the team's six three-point baskets on the day, and they combined for 23 of the bench's 28 points.

The big days belonged to Mike Conley, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Conley had a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, but the heroes for the day were the big men in the middle. Randolph and Gasol combined for 49 points and 23 rebounds, a tremendous effort in Game 1, especially against a gritty San Antonio side with a ton of great bigs.

The Spurs really need to tighten up their interior defense which allowed a whopping 40 points in the paint against Memphis on Sunday afternoon. There are other issues as well.

San Antonio needs to shoot better than 40.0 percent from the floor, and it probably needs more than 13 assists on 28 baskets. Committing fewer than 27 personal fouls would probably help, though Memphis committed 33 fouls and sent San Antonio to the charity stripe 47 times in the game.

However, the biggest problem that head coach Gregg Popovich has is getting Manu Ginobili back into the lineup after missing the series opener with an elbow injury. Ginobili averaged 17.4 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 4.9 APG this year, and he's officially listed as probable for Wednesday's second game.

Believe it or not, the Grizzlies have dominated this series of late, so the Game 1 upset should really come as no surprise. Last April, Memphis shocked San Antonio as 10 ½-point underdogs here at the AT&T Center.  Since then, the Grizzlies have won four of six meetings straight up and covered the spread in all six games.

In Game 2, the Spurs are 8 ½-point favorites on the NBA odds at 5Dimes, while the only 'total' that is posted as of Tuesday morning is at the Las Vegas Hilton, a number set at 197.

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