The battle for seeding is on in a big way in the Western conference and it heats up on Saturday night with the Los Angeles Clippers travelling to face the Memphis Grizzlies. LA already has fourth seed up, but they still have a fight to win home court advantage and they are still in the hunt for a preferable third seed. Meanwhile, the only route to home court advantage is the third seed for Memphis.
The #4/#5 seed match-up in the Western conference is likely to be extremely tough. It will feature some combination of the Clippers, Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets and will be an absolute dogfight whatever combination ends up taking shape. The third seed will be far more appealing as it is likely a match-up against the Golden State Warriors, which all three teams would be favorite to win.
After a shaky period the Clippers have really picked up their game with a four-game winning streak. That streak includes a huge 109-95 victory over California rivals the LA Lakers. They’ve played pretty well offensively during that streak, but rumblings suggest that all is not well with the current top team in Los Angeles.
Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul combine as much offensive punch as their exists in the NBA, but the fact is that rumors suggest that these three players have not been seeing eye to eye as team mates or personally. The previous four games could be a little bit of fool’s gold. Apart from the Lakers, their victories only came against New Orleans, Minnesota and Phoenix. They haven’t beaten anyone other than New Orleans on the road since March 1. Memphis is a tough place to go.
The Western conference is wide open. There are no obvious favorites with Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Denver all facing significant questions in terms of injuries and team chemistry right now. That might just play into the hands of a team like Memphis. They have been playing tough defense leading the league in terms of points allowed per game.
It starts with some fantastic outside defense with Mike Conley and Tony Allen arguably the strongest defensive guard duo in the NBA. Marc Gasol, Tayshaun Prince and Zach Randolph bring nice balance to the front line both offensively and defensively. They can compete physically, they can rebound and they can disrupt any offense. The Grizzlies have a little something to prove in this match-up.
Betting Preview:Memphis (-3.5) vs. LA Clippers
This spread is pretty generous to the Clippers considering how badly they’ve played against stronger competition in the last month or so. The Grizzlies lost the first two match-ups to LA, but they showed excellent play in the latest match-up in the Staples Center. In general Memphis should be a decent match-up for Paul, Griffin and co.
The Grizzlies are a dangerous team heading into the NBA playoffs and they’ve got a great chance to make a serious point in this match-up. Memphis should comfortably beat a pretty generous 3.5 point spread.
The Pick: Memphis (-3.5) [5dimes.eu]
Writer Record Against The Spread: 11-4