While spots in Vegas may have the No. 5 seed Memphis Grizzlies as underdogs to the No. 2 seed San Antonio Spurs — at a slim but significant -130 for the favorite and +110 for Memphis — it’s really hard to call any game between these two squads more than a coin flip if played at a neutral site, especially with the way these teams split their four-game regular season series.
The Spurs’ home advantage contributed at least in part to their favorite designation heading into Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. This veteran squad comes in well aware that Memphis is unfazed not only by the home crowd in San Antonio but — this being Memphis’ first conference final appearance — also unshaken by the greatest stage this franchise has ever stepped on.
After all, the Grizzlies did knock a top-seeded Spurs team out in Round 1 two years ago, and disposed of the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder just days ago.
“I’m happy,” Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph said after finishing OKC in six, via Sports Illustrated. “But we’ve still got work to do and I want to win a ring.”
Though if I were to make one assertion, it’s that these teams won’t be out there topping 100 every night. San Antonio made adjustments after Game 2 against the Golden State Warriors that helped them shut down Seth Curry and Klay Thompson. Gregg Popovich likes to put Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on the scorers that are going off on them.
Meanwhile, Memphis shows both great team and individual defensive presence, with All-NBA Defensive Team honors going to Tony Allen, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley in 2013.
Game 1 of the 2013 Western Conference finals is set for 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday in San Antonio.