The Celtics refuse to give up and have won three of their last four ahead of tonight's home date with the Grizzlies. Who should we take with our NBA picks in this one?
The Grizzlies will be the road favorites tonight, as oddsmakers have listed the spread at 4.5 points. It's a familiar position for Memphis, a team that has enjoyed another terrific season in 2014/15.
We've got an interesting clash of styles about to take place in Boston. The Celtics have been playing at one of the highest paces in the NBA, whereas the Grizzlies are a grind-it-out team that loves to stifle teams defensively. It looks like NBA odds makers think Memphis will inflict their will here, as the total is down at 192 as of now.
You would think a 26-36 overall record wouldn't be even close to being good enough for a spot in the playoffs, but as it turns out the Celtics are only a couple games out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They're 3-1 over their last four and 6-4 over their previous 10 games, and therefore have closed the gap and made things even more interesting in the East.
Boston just wrapped up a successful road trip which saw them beat the Heat and Pelicans, with a loss to the Magic sprinkled in there. The Celtics, however, most recently went into South Beach and escaped with an impressive 100-90 win. Miami even had Luol Deng and Hassan Whiteside (before he got thrown out) back in the mix, but Boston still secured the W.
Once again Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to provide a huge spark for the Celtics - he scored 25 points on 7-of-17 shooting and added four assists. Elsewhere, Brandon Bass racked up 14 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals, while Luigi Datome and Kelly Olynyk both scored in double figures off the bench. Fresh off that solid win over Miami, we're interested to see if Boston will be able to keep their foot on the gas back at home against a stronger Memphis squad this evening.
The Grizzlies will take a 45-18 record into tonight's contest. Just like the Celtics, they've won three of their last four games, topping the Rockets, Bulls and Lakers along the way, with the one loss coming against the Pelicans.
Back on Monday, Memphis earned a hard-fought 101-91 road win over Chicago. Marc Gasol had 23 points, four assists and four rebounds against his older brother, Mike Conley posted a 9/9/5 line with five steals, and Zach Randolph and Jeff Green combined for 35 points in the victory. The Grizzlies shot 50.0 percent from the field overall, a nice feat against a Bulls defense that's typically tough to crack.
Now Memphis continues the trip, this time heading to Boston. Green will make his return to the Celtics and will look to exact his revenge. Green the Grizzlies come in having gone 21-11 on the road this season, so they'll be liking their chances, even against a feisty Boston team.
A tricky NBA pick here. We know the Grizzlies are the better overall team, but they haven't been quite as dominant on the road lately, and the Celtics still have plenty to play for.
Boston has been a team that's hung tough practically every time out, and we expect more of the same tonight. The Celtics have won three of four and have subsequently built up some momentum and confidence ahead of this visit of Memphis. They're going to get up for this game and we believe they'll rise to the occasion.
That's not to say Boston will get the straight up win, but we do like the home team to stay close and cover as 4.5-point dogs.
Free NBA Pick: Boston Celtics +4.5 at 5Dimes