Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee.
Memphis is coming off of a disappointing 111-99 loss to an aging Dallas Mavericks team. One thing that’s quite noticeable in the first 3 games of the season is the Grizzlies lack of defense, as they rank 27th in the league, allowing 106.7 points per game. Memphis is widely known as one of the best defensive teams in the league and this has been quite a surprise. Look for Memphis’ defense to tighten up tonight, as the Celtics average a mere 87.3 points per contest.
“The Big 3”?
Mike Conley Jr., Marc Gasol, and Zach Randolph are Memphis’ version of the “Big 3” and the team relies heavily on this threesome for a heavy dose of points and rebounds. Randolph has always been the go to guy offensively, but this season Conley Jr. has been the main man offensively as he leads the Grizzlies with 20 points per game. This is a player that’s steadily improved his game each season and is very active on the court. Conley Jr. is also a great ball distributor and play’s superb defense. This is a player that’s at his peak that will give Boston trouble.
The well traveled Zach Randolph has managed to find a team to stay with for a few season in Memphis and is good for a nightly double-double. Thus far this season, Randolph’s scoring is a bit down , but there’s no reason for concern; we’re only 3 games into the season.
Spain Is Well Represented
Big man Marc Gasol has surpassed his brother as he’s playing the best basketball of his career, averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. Gasol has a tough matchup tonight against fellow Spaniard, Vitor Faverani. Faverani has burst upon the scene to replace Kevin Garnett and has given the Boston Celtics some hope. Thus far, he appears to be the real deal at 6 foot 11, 260 pounds and averaging 11 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game. Nobody expected Faverani to be this good so quickly and he’s definitely part of Boston’s future.
More has been expected from Jeff Green, but the Celtics bench along with the Grizzlies bench are stacked. The Boston Celtics have a well traveled Kris Humphries that almost provides a nightly double-double in just 21 minutes of action per night and the rookie Kelly Olynyk out of Gonzaga has pretty much lived up to the hype in his limited time on the hardwood.
Boston’s one Achilles heel is lack of star power. If Jeff Green can’t deliver 20 plus points on a regular basis, they’re in trouble. While the Grizzlies defense has been a disappointment, we know that they’re much better than this.
11.5 points are a lot to lay, but Boston is outclassed by a group of players with great experience and talent that have made it deep into the playoffs previously. Gasol needs to have a big game for this to be a blowout and expect this game to get out of control.Free NBA Pick: Memphis -11.5 at 5 Dimes