NBA Picks: Defensive Game Will Help Grizzlies Cover +10 vs. Clippers

Jordan Sharp

Saturday, March 19, 2016 6:08 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016 6:08 PM UTC

The Grizzlies have been bitten hard by the injury bug, however, somehow, some way they are still in the fifth seed in the Western Conference heading into tonight’s game against the Clippers. However, the NBA odds have the Grizzlies as +10 underdogs, and the total at 200.5.

The Walking Dead
Somebody, somewhere has to have a voodoo doll of Grizz the Memphis mascot as is poking him, and probably breaking legs. Memphis has had more bad luck with injuries over the last few weeks than a 70 year-old women with dementia sitting at a slot machine in Tunica, Mississippi. However, and this is probably even crazier, they have kept pace in an ever increasingly competitive Western Conference. Memphis is even above .500 in the month of March, despite missing half their team.

Tonight, they will once again be without their best two players in Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. Zach Randolph has now missed seven straight games and is in danger of missing an eighth. Of course they have already released Mario Chalmers after he ruptured his Achilles, and P.J. Hairston and Vince Carter could also both miss tonight’s matchup.

However, they do have the services of Lance Stephenson tonight, who has gone about resurgence in Memphis with all of the injuries, and now he gets to face the team that traded him to Memphis, the Clippers. Stephenson is averaging almost 24 points, 8 rebounds and six assists in his last four games with Memphis, and with little wing depth to slow him down on the Clippers, he could easily have another big night tonight.

The problem for Memphis tonight will be slowing down Chris Paul. Their ability to slow down Paul tonight will make the difference between covering the NBA odds or getting blown out.


The Sharp Pick
However, while I am tempted to take the points with the Grizzlies tonight as one of my NBA picks, the only way I can do it is if we get some Grizzlies back in the lineup. That being said, both Carter and Randolph look like they are game time decisions tonight, and if they are both able to play, I am taking the point with Memphis. Even in the NBA and even as injured as Memphis is, it’s rare that a double-digit home underdog that has even the talent level that Memphis is dealing with right now doesn’t cover. If Randolph and Carter are back tonight, combined them with Stephenson, Matt Barnes and the young promising sophomore, JaMychal Green, Memphis is good enough to cover this one at home.

With the exception of one game last season where the Clippers dominated Memphis, the Grizzlies have covered in four of their last five games against the Clippers, and with how much of a defensive game this one could be, that should also help the Grizzlies as big underdogs. Memphis is still 7-4 ATS in their last 11 games since all these injuries started, and even though they are 5-5 ATS this season when playing as a home underdog, and 5-3 ATS in their last eight games as home dogs.

While LA is a very underrated defensive team, their downfall in past seasons, and potentially this one has been their bench. Both teams won’t have much of a bench tonight, but while LA’s bench ranks 12th in the league in points per game, they no long have Stephenson who was contributing to that mark, and they still rank in the bottom five benches in the league in rebounding and field goal percentage. If the Grizzlies can match the Clippers starters tonight, they should cover the spread if they get back a couple of their veterans too.

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NBA Pick: Grizzlies +10
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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