Editor's note: Brian Edwards is #1 on VI in NBA winning percentage (59%), #1 in guaranteed money (+31.41 units!) and #3 in overall money (+29.6 units). His pay-if-it-wins-only selections are on an incredible 23-6 run. Don't miss out on his pick pack for tonight!
The Western Conference finals shift to Memphis with the home team desperate for a victory. San Antonio comes to the Grind House on Friday night with a commanding 2-0 advantage in this best-of-seven series.
As of eary this morning, most books had Memphis (64-31 straight up, 57-36-2 against the spread) installed as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 177.5. Bettors can back the Spurs on the money line for a +200 return (risk $100 to win $200).
For first half wagers, the Grizzlies are favored by 3.5 with a total of 88.5.
San Antonio (68-26 SU, 47-45-2 ATS) won Game 1 by a 105-83 count last Sunday as a 4.5-point home favorite. The 188 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 181.5-point total. Tony Parker led five double-figure scorers with 20 points and nine assists for the winners.
Zach Randolph might have played his worst game of the season in the series-opening setback. The Michigan St. product made only 1-of-8 shots from the field, scored just two points and had a plus-minus rating of -28. Quincy Pondexter scored a team-high 17 points for the Grizz.
Game 2 looked like much of the same with San Antonio leading by as many as 18 early in the fourth quarter. However, the Spurs were held to only nine points in the fourth quarter as Memphis rallied to force overtime.
In the extra session, Tim Duncan scored six of his 17 points to propel his team to a 93-89 win. The Grizzlies took the cash as 5.5-point underdogs, while the 182 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 180.5-point total thanks to OT.
Parker suffered through a dismal 6-of-20 shooting performance, but he dished out a postseason career-best 18 assists. He also had three steals and committed only two turnovers. Tiago Splitter chipped in 14 points and Danny Green knocked down 3-of-4 attempts from downtown.
In the losing effort, Mike Conley Jr. and Jerryd Bayless shared team-high scoring honors with 18 points apiece. Randolph still couldn’t buy a bucket, going 6-of-18 from the floor, but he generated 15 points and 18 rebounds and blocked a pair of shots.
Lionel Hollins’s squad has been here before. Memphis trailed the Clippers 0-2 in their first-round matchup but responded with four consecutive victories.
San Antonio has been in a similar situation, too. The Spurs led Oklahoma City 2-0 in the Western finals last year, only to drop four in a row.
Memphis has won all five of its home playoff games both SU and ATS. San Antonio has been tough on the road with a 4-1 record both SU and ATS.
Sportsbook.ag has the updated series price as San Antonio -450, Memphis +350 (risk $100 to win $350). The Spurs were -140 ‘chalk’ to begin the series.
Sportsbook has proposition wagers galore, including a prop for whom will score the first point of the game. Parker is the +500 'chalk' (risk $100 to win $500). The next-shortest odds (+550) belong to four different players: Conley, Randolph, Marc Gasol and Duncan.
The ‘under’ is 50-42-2 overall for the Spurs, 24-20-2 in their road assignments. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies have seen the ‘under’ go 54-40-1 overall, 29-17 in their home games.
ESPN will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.'s Bonus Nuggets**
--Roy Hibbert and Paul George led Indiana to a 97-93 win at Miami in last night's Game 2. The series is now knotted at 1-1 with Game 3 slated for Sunday night back in Indianapolis. Hibbert scored 29 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, while George finished with 22 points and six assists. The Pacers won outright as seven-point underdogs, hooking up money-line backers with a +250 payout (risk $100 to win $250).
--The 'over' is now 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between the Pacers and Heat.
--As of early this morning, most books had the Heat favored by one for Game 3 with a total of 182.
--George made one of the best plays of the season last night when he blew past LeBron James into the lane and dunked on Chris 'Birdman' Andersen. It was one of the sickest dunks you will ever see.
--I know George passes a lot more, is a better dribbler and is not as explosive of a scorer (yet) but with all that said.....I see a lot of Dominique Wilkins in George and that's a huge compliment.