Major Line Shift As Cavaliers Resting LeBron, Irving & Love At Grizzlies

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 2:39 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016 2:39 PM UTC

The Cleveland Cavaliers opened as 8.5-point favorites for Wednesday's game in Memphis at sportsbooks that released day-before odds on Tuesday. Hopefully you didn't give those points as the Cavs are resting their three best players in the second of a back-to-back.

Something quite rare is happening Wednesday in Cavaliers at Grizzlies: a home-and-home back-to-back between opponents in opposite conferences. You see the home-and-home all the time between teams in the same conference but not usually with one from the East and one from the West.

On Tuesday night in Cleveland, the Cavaliers won a fifth straight game with a 103-86 victory over Memphis as 14.5-point favorites on NBA odds. Star point guard Kyrie Irving got the night of, and Kevin Love had 29 points and LeBron James 23. J.R. Smith added 23 points to break out of a shooting slump as the Cavs ended the Grizzlies' six-game winning streak.

James, Irving and Love didn't even travel with the Cavs to Memphis as they are all resting at home. James also missed an earlier road game in Indiana for resting purposes on Nov. 16. Cleveland will start Smith, DeAndre Liggins, Iman Shumpert, James Jones and Tristan Thompson in this one -- not exactly the  most impressive starting five in the NBA. If I live in the Memphis area and bought tickets to this game, I'm livid.

Memphis decided to rest its best player, center Marc Gasol, on Tuesday. But reserve swingman Vince Carter returned after missing seven games with a right hip flexor strain. He had three points in 18 minutes. It's expected that Gasol will play at home. The Grizzlies remain without two other injured starters for a while in point guard Mike Conley and forward Chandler Parsons.

The Grizzlies have lost their past two at home against Cleveland, which has covered the spread in five of its past six visits to Memphis. But the Grizz are now 3.5-point favorites on NBA picks after opening Tuesday night at +8.5.

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