How the mighty have fallen. Both the Memphis Grizzlies and the Dallas Mavericks are having a tough time beating the basketball odds these days. But at least the Mavericks will be healthy when they meet on Friday.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 19: 54-48-4 ATS, 5-8 Totals, minus-1.00 units ML
It’s a tough life in the Western Conference. The Memphis Grizzlies (47-21 SU, 31-35-2 ATS) and Dallas Mavericks (44-25 SU, 31-36-2 ATS) have both played excellent basketball this year, but they’re not even close to sniffing first place in the West. They’ve also been spinning their wheels over the past few weeks. Memphis is 6-7 SU and 3-10 ATS in its last 13 games. Dallas is 5-5 SU and 2-8 ATS in its last 10.
Barring a push, one of these two teams is going to cover when they meet Friday night (8:30 p.m. ET). We’d love to send you straight to the totals for your NBA picks, but the OVER is on a 4-0 streak for the Mavericks, while the UNDER is 5-3 for the Grizz. And things are even more complicated now that Memphis PG Mike Conley is being listed as questionable after missing four games with a sprained right ankle. Apparently Conley isn’t important enough to stop the NBA Odds from opening Dallas as a 3-point home fave.
Be Like Mike
Ridonkulous. Conley (19.2 PER) is one of the better point guards in the league, and has been for nearly three years now. But he has taken a step back this season; despite a career-high true shooting percentage of 56.2, Conley’s BPM has fallen from plus-3.4 to plus-2.9. He’s dishing out fewer assists while shooting less and committing more turnovers – but these are marginal differences, nothing to be too concerned about just yet.
Having said that, Memphis is deep enough to absorb losing Conley for a few games. Beno Udrih (15.9 PER, minus-0.7 BPM) has been a good fit with the Grizzlies. Nick Calathes (13.3 PER, minus-0.1 BPM) can play some defense. But it’s enough of a downgrade to leave the Grizz at 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS since Conley was taken out of the lineup.
Meanwhile, we’ve been loath to put the Mavs in our NBA picks ever since Rajon Rondo (11.6 PER, minus-1.4 BPM) came to town. He’s just not the same player he was before he tore his knee up two years ago. Rondo might be finally accepting his limitations, though. He’s shot the ball less often the past four games, and he dished out a combined 24 assists in back-to-back victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder (+6 away) and the Orlando Magic (+12.5 away).
Too bad Dallas dropped the cash in both those games. Rondo also committed eight turnovers in Wednesday’s 107-102 win over the Magic. But he wasn’t the only one, as the Mavs coughed up the ball 20 times to hand Orlando the matador cover. There was some good news for Dallas supporters: Al-Farouq Aminu (15.1 PER) was back in action after missing two games with a sprained left shoulder. He’s the top defender on the Mavericks this year (plus-3.0 DBPM) and a vital part of a Dallas bench that was thinned out in the Rondo trade.
Leuer’s In Love
One other piece of injury news we should consider: Jon Leuer (12.3 PER) is also questionable for the Grizz with a sore back, although that might be a good thing for Memphis, given Leuer’s minus-3.0 BPM. In reality, the depth on the Grizzlies is limited to their backcourt. They even had Tyrus Thomas come up from the D-League on a 10-day contract in January. Worth a shot.
We also think the Mavericks are worth a shot. They’re not the best value on Friday’s schedule by any means, and we’re making this basketball pick conditional on Conley’s absence, but the healthier Mavs are the lesser of two evils here.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Mavericks (if Conley doesn’t play) at BetOnline