After coming up well short in Game One of their NBA Play-Off series, the Memphis Grizzlies and Chicago Bulls are in need of a boost on Monday night to raise their prospects of advancing past the first round.
The Grizzlies were pummelled 112-91 by the Los Angeles Clippers in their opener, despite holding Blake Griffin to just ten points. Their rebounding was below par in the fourth quarter, giving their hosts vital second-chance opportunities. The Clippers duly capitalised to outscore Memphis 37-22 over the final 12 minutes. But the Clippers bench – arguably their greatest asset – played a big role as well. They were able to throw bodies on Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley, forcing him into a 0-3 performance from three-point range, as well as disrupting his playmaking.
That probably won’t be repeated because Memphis have shown all season that they can make defensive adjustments. That makes the odds of 3.05 on the visitors to level the best of seven series at 1-1 look tempting, while the handicap of +6 on the Grizz also tempts at 1.91. But have a look going over the total points high scoring line of 188.5, available at 2.85.
The Brooklyn Nets didn’t just overcome Chicago’s defence on Saturday - they shredded it in a 106-89 victory. that might make for an awkward second game in New York as the Bulls try to break the rhythm of their hosts' offense and dent the confidence of a side which has won seven of its last eight games.
Chicago will hope to have centre Joakim Noah in their starting line-up, after he was limited to just 13 minutes last time due to injury. He is a huge player for the Bulls, who got just 50 points from their main line-up with only Nate Robinson providing effective help off the bench.
Like Memphis, Chicago are great at patching up the holes and, if Noah can last the distance, that should bring down the total points below the line of 183.5. But with home advantage, the Nets are 1.48 to take a 2-0 lead.
Best bet: Go over the total points line of 188.5 in Clippers-Grizzlies at 2.85