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San Antonio Spurs Stifle Grizzlies, Take 2-0 Series Lead

The San Antonio Spurs blew out the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, though Game 2 was much closer. The Spurs were 4.5-point favorites, but they won 93-89 in an OT thriller. However, despite their hot start, the Spurs face a variety of questions about their performance moving forward. (They were up 2-0 against the OKC Thunder at this time last year, only to lose the series.)

“We’re in the same boat we were when we left L.A. We’re down 0-2. We’ve got to go home and take care of business at home,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “It’s not going to be easy, but that’s where we are.”

Many anticipated the Grizzlies would upset the Spurs because of their slower pace of play and strong interior defense. However, Tim Duncan was the most dominant defensive player in the game. Per ESPN’s Stats and Information, The Spurs held to the Grizzlies to 4-of-24 shooting (16.7%) inside 5 feet of the basket when Tim Duncan was on court in Game 2, compared to 9-of-14 shooting (64.3%) when Duncan was on the bench. Duncan was also huge in the extra period, throwing the team on his back and scoring six points to eke out the victory over Memphis.

However, the Grizzlies are one of the toughest teams in the league, and despite being down two games, it doesn’t feel like they’re out of it. They  orchestrated one of the most impressive fourth-quarter comebacks in recent memory yesterday, overcoming a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter and going on a 15-2 scoring run in the final eight minutes of play to force overtime. If it wasn’t for Duncan’s last-gasp burst of energy, they most likely would have won. And therein lies the problem for the Spurs moving forward: they were clearly gassed at the end of the game, and admitted as much. Will they be able to keep up with a desperate Memphis Grizzlies team motivated by their home crowd next game?

“We’re who we are and we have to stay who we are, and we have to understand that no matter who’s coming and talking to us, we have to be true to our identity,” Hollins said, “and we can’t go changing and shaving and taking a bath when we haven’t taken one all along.”

Here were some other gambling trends for both squads before they played Game 2 of the series, courtesy of OddsShark.com:

Memphis Grizzlies Trends:
When playing on Tuesday are 7-3
Before playing San Antonio are 6-4
After playing San Antonio are 8-2
After a loss are 7-3

San Antonio Spurs Trends:
When playing on Tuesday are 8-2
Before playing Memphis are 5-5
After playing Memphis are 9-1
After a win are 6-4

A few Grizzlies at Spurs trends to consider:
Memphis is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Memphis’s last 8 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Memphis’s last 9 games
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Memphis’s last 9 games when playing San Antonio
San Antonio is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Memphis
San Antonio is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
San Antonio is 9-2 SU in its last 11 games
The total has gone OVER in 4 of San Antonio’s last 5 games at home

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