Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The San Antonio Spurs were favored by about five points in Game One of the Western Conference Finals this past Sunday. So, it wasn’t a shocker that they won their home opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. But, the manner they won…and the SIZE of the victory margin was a shocker!
*San Antonio won by 22 points…against a team that had won eight of its last nine games against the likes of the LA Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Memphis entered in great form. San Antonio embarrassed them.
*San Antonio was supposed to have trouble scoring against the vaunted Memphis defense. Some trouble! They reached 105 points in a game with a slow tempo, nailing 14 three-pointers and shooting 55% inside the arc.
*San Antonio was supposed to be in trouble on the boards, yet battled the Grizzlies even in rebounding most of the day. Memphis isn’t going to be in this series if they don’t earn many second chance points. Memphis has to OWN the glass if they’re going to take this series deep.
*San Antonio was supposed to be soft inside, which meant that the bigs of Memphis would bully them when they had the ball. Z-bo barely showed up! When Memphis made a run, it’s because the bench came in and made some jumpers. The bigs from Memphis were mostly invisible. San Antonio looks to be better prepared for this series than they were two years ago.
It goes without saying that Memphis has to make some adjustments. Can they make THAT many adjustments?!
MEMPHIS at SAN ANTONIO
Vegas Line: San Antonio by 5, total of 182
San Antonio Leads 1-0
Oddsmakers opened the game at Spurs -2.5 in anticipation of the bounce-back theory coming into play from bettors. Instead, sharps hit the home favorite that looked so impressive out of the gate. You don’t often see a spread DOUBLE from its opener in the NBA playoffs. That’s the case here. San Antonio truly impressed. Memphis truly shriveled.
*San Antonio also shot lights out from long range in Game One of the Golden State series, nailing 13 of 26 treys. They fell back to earth with a thud by losing Game Two at home on just 5 of 21 on bombs. What you saw Sunday was San Antonio at its peak, not “the new normal” for the Spurs most likely.
*Memphis lost the first game in Los Angeles, and the first game in Oklahoma City before bouncing back to cover Game Two in both cities. They have the Spurs right where they want them! More accurately, they know it’s time to bring peak intensity…and they’ve already shown they know how to do that.
*In terms of the series, keep in mind that San Antonio looked great last year in the first two games against Oklahoma City, before losing the last four. Head coach Gregg Popovich is great at preparing his teams. He only has so many moves up his sleeves though as a series progresses. He ran out of ideas vs. OKC last year. If Memphis DOES make some adjustments, do the Spurs have enough counter-moves? It’s far from a sure thing that San Antonio is going to dominate the series just because they dominated the first game. They were plus 27 points on three-pointers, which is unlikely to be par for this course.
JIM HURLEY has some very strong ideas about what’s going to happen Tuesday Night in Alamo City. And, don’t be surprised if NETWORK gets involved with the total too. In these later rounds, the best values are often on the Over/Under options.
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Back with you Wednesday to run the Indiana/Miami Eastern Conference Championship through our gauntlet of indicator stats. NBA Playoff coverage will continue with game previews throughout the league Finals in June. Note that the playoffs take a day off Thursday (Spurs/Grizzlies doesn’t resume until Game Three Saturday in Memphis), so we’ll have a special baseball report for you at that time.
We’ll always outline expectations and series dynamics for you here in the NOTEBOOK. The final word on the best Las Vegas betting options will be just a few clicks away thanks to legendary handicapper JIM HURLEY and his exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach!