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Game 4 - Spurs at Grizzlies

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While the Eastern Conference Finals continues to go back and forth between the Heat and Pacers, the Western Conference Finals are nearly finished. The Spurs seek their second sweep of the postseason with a victory on Monday at Memphis, while San Antonio looks for its first NBA Finals appearance since 2007.

For the second straight game, the Spurs needed overtime to stave off the Grizzlies, but the road to a Game 3 triumph went a different direction than Game 2. In the second contest of this series, the Spurs squandered an 18-point advantage before grabbing a 93-89 triumph in OT, but failed to cover as 5 ½-point 'chalk.' However, Gregg Popovich's team fell behind by as many as 18 points in Game 3, but put together a spirited comeback for the 3-0 series edge.

Memphis entered Saturday's contest not losing a home playoff game in five tries, as the Grizzlies built a seemingly commanding 29-13 advantage. San Antonio trimmed the deficit to four points by halftime, while taking the lead for a short time in the fourth quarter. The Grizzlies tied the game to send things to overtime, but the Spurs took over in the extra session by outscoring Memphis, 18-7 to capture a 104-93 road victory as 4 ½-point underdogs (+190 on the money-line).

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The old stalwarts stepped up for the Spurs in Game 3, as Tim Duncan and Tony Parker combined to score 50 points, including seven points from Duncan in overtime. Tiago Splitter shot an efficient 5-for-5 from the floor for 11 points, while Manu Ginobili chipped in 19 points off the bench. The Grizzlies struggled shooting the ball by hitting just 39% from the field, including 33 missed shots combined from Mike Conley, Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph.

Each of the last two games between these teams have finished 'over' the total, even though both were destined to hit the 'under' assuming the game did not go past regulation. VegasInsider.com's Chris David analyzes the totals throughout this series, "I've played the 'under' the in last two games in this series and I've been burnt twice with the extra session. Game 1 went 'over' as well, but that was helped with a 58-point fourth quarter, which is an anomaly for these teams. The total for Monday is hovering around 181 points and despite the previous outcomes, I'd come back with the 'under' again just on the principal of pace. If they shoot above their averages and exceed their norm in the free throw department, you accept the loss and move forward."

The Spurs improved to 5-1 SU/ATS on the highway in the postseason, with the lone defeat coming in overtime at Golden State in Game 4 of the previous round. San Antonio has won outright in two road underdog opportunities, while compiling a 9-4 ATS record overall in the playoffs.

Memphis is 4-1 to the 'over' in the last five home playoff contests, with the only 'under' coming on a 187 ½ total against Oklahoma City in last round (all four 'overs' came on totals of below 185). The Grizzlies have put together the best ATS record in the postseason at 11-3, including a 5-1 ATS mark at home, in spite of the Game 3 loss.

David says it's dangerous to look at Memphis in this spot as a favorite, "Backing a team in a must-win situation is never a good bet in my opinion and certainly isn't here with Memphis. If you've watched every game, it's obvious that San Antonio is the better all-around team and if it wasn't for its inability to close, the last two games wouldn't have had the dramatics of overtime. Catching points with San Antonio seems like a gift, when you look at its road tendencies in the playoffs, especially on defense. They haven't allowed a team to bust 100 points in six road games, which has led to a 5-1 record both straight up and against the spread. Also, all five of the Spurs' wins during this stretch have come by double-digits as well."

The Grizzlies opened up as a three-point favorite, but that number has dipped down to 2 ½ points at most books. The total sits at 180 ½ for Game 4, as the contest tips off at 9:00 PM EST and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at rogers@vegasinsider.com

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

  
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