San Antonio Spurs head into the FedEx Forum to face off against the Memphis Grizzlies. This is the first game of the NBA Western Conference Play-In Tournament for entry into the Playoffs tonight.
In 3-meetings this season the Memphis Grizzlies hold an 2-1 edge over the San Antonio Spurs. Both wins coming more recently for the Grizzlies this season. Both teams have seen each other in history’s past in the playoffs during the Popovich era. However, not like this before. Not under these present circumstances. Where a play-in game decides if you reach the postseason.
One thing that stood out in the Eastern Conference Play-In games—I see continuing in today’s games—is teams with some playoff experience and bolstering veterans performed exceptionally well. We look at the San Antonio Spurs roster you see Rudy Gay, Demar Derozan, Patty Mills and Gourgi Dieng being the elders while the rest of the team is one of the youngest in the NBA. Grizzlies have only one player 30 years old and everyone else is in their 20’s while not having an abundance of combined playoff experience at all. This can turn into a game of nerves quickly with Spurs Head Coach Popovich always looking for a way to give his team an edge over their respective opponent.
These two teams aren’t far apart when it comes to the metrics but overall the Grizzlies hold a sizeable edge on paper. Two areas where the Spurs are better is turnovers and free throw %. I dig into the nitty gritty for this game with two young teams that have been sporadic all year; someone has to! Memphis Grizzlies have not defended homecourt well this year going 18-18 at FedEx Forum. Spurs are above .500 on the road with a 19-17 straight up record. Both teams have winning records ATS. When these two teams play they want to push up the point total. The OVER is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings between these two teams.
Realistically the Spurs will keep this game close down the stretch. I see a lot of shots coming by way of the paint from the Grizzlies and a vice versa for the Spurs.
Preston’s First Best Bet: San Antonio Spurs +4 (-110)
Preston’s Second Best Bet: OVER 223 (-110)
Preston’s Player Prop: Keldon Johnson OVER 13.5 Pts+Ast (-122)
Side Note: Keldon Johnson is averaging 17.7 points and 2.3 assists against the Memphis Grizzlies in three meetings this season.
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SOURCE CREDIT: https://www.covers.com/sport/basketball/nba/matchup/244577
SOURCE CREDIT: https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnske04/splits/2021