Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM
For the first game and three quarters, it looked like the Memphis Grizzlies were going to get squashed in their Western Conference Championship series against the San Antonio Spurs. They lost the first game by 22 points. They were trailing by 18 points late in the third quarter of Game Two. And, it didn’t feel that close. Memphis looked discombobulated on offense and a step or two slow on defense. The Spurs were hitting on all cylinders, putting up a ton of points at a very slow tempo.
Memphis rallied all the way to force overtime, and just missed stealing Game Two and home court advantage in the series. Suddenly, we had a competitive matchup…one that looked startlingly like the first two playoff rounds of Memphis basketball.
*Memphis lost the series opener of their series with the LA Clippers by 21 points…then lost game 93-91 (very close to their 93-89 loss to the Spurs this past Tuesday!). From that point forward, it was a four-game sweep for the Griz…winning by 12, 21, 10, and 13 points.
*Memphis lost the series opener of their series with the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder by 2 points….then swept the next four games by margins of 6, 6, 6, and 4 points.
The pattern’s been set. Memphis loses the opener. Memphis plays a close game the next time out. Memphis turns into a juggernaut from that point forward…undefeated so far from Game 3 onward in the postseason.
The story behind that story may involve the physicality of having to face the big, strong, and lumbering Memphis Grizzlies. They pound at you…and pound at you…and pound at you…until you don’t have the reserves any more to stay in their way. You certainly got the sense that the Clippers defense wanted nothing to do with the constant punishment as that series wore down. The Thunder hung in longer on a 48-minute basis, but tended to run out of gas in the last few minutes.
Just like San Antonio did in Game Two…scoring only 9 points in the fourth quarter as they almost gave the game away.
Maybe San Antonio has what it takes to stay physically tough with the maulers from Memphis. Maybe having the long layoff between Games Two and Three will help them stay tough Saturday before gradually fading later on. Such volatility! The Spurs are only two games away from wrapping things up. Grab a win in Memphis, and things could be done by Wednesday. But…the toughest challenges for Tim Duncan and company may only be starting.
SAN ANTONIO at MEMPHIS
Vegas Line: Memphis by 5.5, total of 177.5
San Antonio Leads 2-0
Sharps have been hitting Memphis because of concerns about Tony Parker’s troublesome left calf. They’ve also been betting the Under heavily (down from an opener of 180) figuring that San Antonio’s ball movement will suffer if Parker isn’t at 100%.
JIM HURLEY is studying this series from all angles. He’s been working closely with his sources to get a read on each team’s health and mindset. He’s been working with his historians to see what usually happens after long mid-series layoffs like this. He’s been working with his computer programmers to tweak the software for that unique “wear-down” ability that Memphis seems to possess. It’s all come together in a set of selections for Games Three (Saturday) and Four (Memorial Day) that look destined to get the money.
You can purchase daily selections in this series plus Indiana-Miami right here at the website with your credit card. Don’t forget to check on daily baseball too. There’s PRIME TIME action on FOX Saturday Night, including the St. Louis Cardinals at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sunday’s national games are the NY Yankees at Tampa Bay on TBS, and Atlanta at the NY Mets at night on ESPN. If you have any questions about NETWORK service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
Back with you Sunday to preview Game Three of the Miami Heat/Indiana Pacers series. Notes for Game Four of Spurs/Grizzlies will be available on Memorial Day…as NBA playoff action will go daily through the week.
The weather is warming up…which means you’ll be out in the backyard cooking on the grill to make the most of the holiday weekend. Be sure you invite JIM HURLEY to the party. He’ll be happy to bring some BIG, JUICY WINNERS!