The Los Angeles Clippers get set to host the Memphis Grizzlies tonight for Game 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, with tip-off time set for 10:30 PM ET with the series leaning in favor of the Clips, 2-1. With two of the three games in this series having been decided by just 1 point, expectations should be high that tonight’s showdown will be another tightly contested meeting, as the Grizzlies try to push the series back to Memphis on even terms, while the Clips try to pull one game closer to reaching the second round of the playoffs for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
The Memphis Grizzlies still appear to be the better overall team in this series, despite being down 2-1 heading into tonight’s game. An epic collapse in Game 1, in which the Grizzlies squandered a 27 point lead to lose by one, certainly is the key reason behind Memphis being at a disadvantage heading into Game 4 tonight, but in order for them to push the series back home on even terms, they’ll need to first and foremost hone in on playing 4 quarters of basketball tonight. Los Angeles, while struggling mightily at the free-throw line in Game 3 (13-for-30), managed to hold on to a late lead on a strong shooting night from Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, while also holding strong in the paint winning the scoring battle down low 34-20. That’s a key area that Memphis has to improve upon, especially as the Griz outrebounded LA in Game 3 40-35 and 8-7 on the offensive glass. Marc Gasol in particular, held to just 5 shots on Saturday (despite a double-double of 11 points, 10 rebounds), must be more effective on the scoring line tonight, alongside fellow big man Zach Randolph and back-up Marreese Speights, the latter whom despite averaging nearly 20 minutes per game has played poorly on the defensive side of the ball, noted by a -22 rating in Game 3 alone. Memphis has played reasonably well all-around in this series, but their failure to play solid basketball for all 4 quarters has them sitting on the brink of a very precarious 3-1 disadvantage to the upstart Clippers.
For Los Angeles on the other hand, getting things in order at the free throw line may have been first item of business for head coach Vinny del Negro to address in the lull between Games 3 and 4. With the Clippers shooting a horrific 43.3 percent from the line in Game 3, it’s a wonder how they managed to hold on to a late lead at all. The Clippers have not mustered better than 73.9 percent from the charity stripe in this series, and while that was offset by a strong 3-point shooting night in Game 3, passing up on those additional points with the clock stopped will eventually come back to bite them. The big men, Blake Griffin and Reggie Evans, were the biggest offenders in Game 3, with each of them missing at 6 free throws (3-for-9 for Griffin, 2-8 for Evans), and with those two cast members being the most likely to see free-throws in Game 4 as play tightens up around the basket, an improved night for both of them at the line is critical. Another big area where the Clippers can give themselves a boost is with the continuation of their hot 3-point shooting, which has been solid over the last two games at over 50 percent. Though that hasn’t been a key factor in the bottom line (take note of Game 2′s 56.3 percent 3-point shooting effort for the Clippers, in a game they still lost by 7), having perimeter players like Chris Paul, Nick Young and Randy Foye able to step up big from the outside will certainly give them a boost especially in the clutch moments late in the game. Another very critical factor for Los Angeles tonight; the turnover margin. In the only game the Clippers conceded in this series, they handily outshot the Griz 56.7 percent to 48 percent (including 56.3 percent vs. 16.7 percent from 3-point range), but gave up 25 points on 20 turnovers (vs. 9 points off 13 TO’s for Memphis). Protecting the ball has to be a huge area of emphasis tonight, in order for Los Angeles to avoid sending the series back to Memphis on even ground.
Betting Lines for the Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies at TopBet Sportsbook.
The opening lines on tonight’s Game 4 match-up are tight, with the Clippers just a slight favorite at home with -120 odds straight up. Memphis, by virtue of its’ strong defensive play on the road, is EVEN money as an underdog, and should be ready for a solid effort as they look to even out the series tonight.
Against the spread, just 1.5 points separates these two teams. With two games so far in this series decided by just 1 point, there’s little questioning why the lines are so tight here. However, while the games have been drawn in close in the final moments of Games’ 1 and 3, expect one team or the other to stretch out a lead and cover the spread. With the Grizzlies covering as losers in Game 3, look for them to be another good bet as +1.5 point underdogs, as they are at a critical point in the series looking to avoid a 3-1 deficit and elimination games from Game 5 on out.
For the over/under, the points total is set very low at 182.5 points, hedged mainly on Memphis’ tight defense on the road, and the fact that Game 3 featured a low 173 final points total. Interestingly enough, the points total has gone under in 9 of the Grizzlies last 10 games on the road, and in the last 5 of 6 meetings between LA and Memphis at Staples Center.
This should be a highly-contested match-up tonight, with a number of key factors to watch out for before placing your best wagers at TopBet Sportsbook today. Check out all the available news around the game, as well as all the betting trends, and get set to put your money down for what should be one of the best sporting events available on Monday at the top online sportsbook at TopBet!