Memphis rolled over Utah 86-70 as a 4.5-point home favorite in its regular season finale, but that was not enough to secure home-court advantage in their best-of-seven first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Memphis comes into Saturday’s Game 1 at the Staples Center with an 8-2 straight-up record in its last 10 games and a 6-3-1 record against the spread. They earn underdog status as 5-point road dogs to open the series against a Clippers squad seeking revenge for last season's playoff loss.
The Grizzlies are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games against teams with a winning record, but 7-3-3 ATS in their last 13 first-round playoff games.
Defense is the name of the game for this team as it is ranked first in the NBA in points allowed, giving up an average of just 89.3 points to its opponents.
On the other end of the court, Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol are accounting for almost 50 percent of the Grizzlies' 93.4 points a game.
Memphis sits at +800 to win the West and +3000 to win the NBA title. The Clippers are +600 to win the conference and +2500 to bring home the title.
The Clippers just posted one of their best regular seasons in franchise history with an overall record of 56-26 SU (45-37 ATS) that includes a 32-9 SU (25-16 ATS) record at home. They come into this series with a seven-game SU winning streak and a 5-2 record ATS during this run.
Los Angeles is 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against a team with a winning record but 5-2-2 ATS in their last nine playoff games in the opening round.
Balance has been the key to the Clippers’ success this season with an offense that is averaging 101.1 points a game complementing a defensive effort that is ranked fourth in the league in points allowed (94.6).
Blake Griffin is averaging 18 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to go along with Chris Paul’s 16.9 points and team-high 9.7 assists. Jamal Crawford has been huge off the bench all season long with 16.5 points while averaging 29.3 minutes a game.
The road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings in this matchup and the total has stayed UNDER in six of the last seven games between the two squads. Los Angeles holds a 3-1 edge both SU and ATS in this season’s series.
Prediction: Clippers in 5