With Tony Allen on the sidelines, the Memphis Grizzlies couldn’t get off the ground Sunday in San Antonio. The NBA odds aren’t waiting to see if Allen will play Monday against the Sacramento Kings.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 29: 64-60-5 ATS, 7-11 Totals, plus-1.15 units ML
Yes, there are such things as easy NBA picks. Easy to handicap, that is – it’s still close to a coin flip whether or not your 15-Star Deadbolt Lock of the Holocene will come true. But it’s always nice to get a game like Sunday’s matchup between the Memphis Grizzlies and the San Antonio Spurs. These two teams are going in different directions right now, and with Tony Allen sitting out for the Grizzlies, they were a clear-cut fade in what turned out to be a 103-89 win for San Antonio (–8 at home).
It looks like Allen will be on the sidelines once again when Memphis hosts the Sacramento Kings Monday night (8:00 p.m. ET). This basketball pick isn’t quite so simple. The Kings are a mess, but just to keep us on our toes, they’ve won four of their last five games at 3-2 ATS. If that weren’t confusing enough, head coach George Karl might rest his star players down the stretch while he tinkers with the lineup. The NBA odds don’t seem to mind; Sacramento is getting eight points as we go to press.
The Grizzlies (50-24 SU, 34-38-2 ATS) had their moments against San Antonio, but not enough of them. They definitely could have used Allen (14.7 PER, plus-3.2); in his place, Vince Carter (10.3 PER, minus-1.3 BPM) got the start against the Spurs in a curious backcourt trio with Mike Conley (19.0 PER, plus-2.7 BPM) and Courtney Lee (11.7 PER, plus-0.5 BPM). They shot a combined 7-of-25 for 21 points.
Jeff Green (14.5 PER, minus-0.1 BPM) nearly did that all by himself: He came off the bench and scored 19 points on 8-of-15 from the floor. But without Allen’s restaurant-quality defense beside him, Green was still a minus-5 on the day. We’ll see if head coach Dave Joerger puts Green back in the starting five on Monday – for that matter, we’ll see if Allen ends up returning from his strained hamstring. It’s not looking good at the moment.
Relax, Big Guy
So who’s going to play for the Kings (26-46 SU, 28-42-2 ATS)? Karl says he’s been talking with DeMarcus Cousins (25.4 PER, plus-4.5 BPM) and Rudy Gay (19.4 PER, plus-2.1 BPM) about taking a night or two off. Perhaps that won’t happen until next week, when Sacramento plays back-to-back games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Utah Jazz. Perhaps. Otherwise, these basketball odds are ripe for the picking if the Kings are going to sit their two best players.
Between playing in the quiet confines of the (yawn) Sleep Train Arena and having to put up with fools all day, Cousins hasn’t endeared himself to the larger basketball public. If here were playing at this level in, say, Brooklyn, all we’d be hearing about is how Cousins should be in the MVP conversation. He’s ninth in the league with a plus-5.89 RPM, and fifth on the defensive end at plus-4.62 DRPM. Gay doesn’t play defense well at all (minus-2.39 DRPM), but he’s good for 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per 36 minutes. They’d better both be in action if the Kings are going to mount much of a challenge against Memphis.
We’re in a bit of a pickle as it is. The Grizzlies sans Allen should be solid fade candidates after dropping three in a row ATS, but do we really want to follow the Kings? They’ve honked two of their last three. Our solution is to recommend placing your NBA picks on the OVER if Allen sits. The Kings are trying to run and gun, they’ve got the OVER at 20-15 on the road, and they could carve up the weary Grizz Monday night. Just wait for the shootaround before you bring out the knives.
Free NBA Pick: Take the OVER (if Allen sits, and Cousins and Gay both play)