The Grizzlies have stabilized after losing three straight games in the latter half of March. The Wizards just beat the New York Knicks. Let’s see what’s in store on the NBA betting lines tonight.
The Washington Wizards Can Win Because…
They are coming off a solid performance in which they looked like a competent, businesslike team. The Wizards can’t solve all their problems at once, but they can take basic steps forward, and they did that on Friday night, beating the New York Knicks by a healthy 14-point margin at home. The Wizards briefly lost focus, allowing 36 points in the second quarter, but in the other three quarters on Friday, they were exceptionally good on defense. They allowed a total of just 51 points in those three quarters, never more than 21 in an individual quarter. They limited the Knicks to 37 percent field goal shooting, just 7 of 21 from three-point range. Washington blocked eight shots and was better on the defensive glass, 36 to 33. Washington displayed good energy and did not take an inferior team for granted. That’s a healthy habit to re-develop after the Wizards lost hold of it in previous months, sliding downward in the standings in 2015.
Two other developments from Friday’s game should really please this team and head coach Randy Wittman: First, John Wall handed out 18 assists. If there were any worries about Wall’s mindset, a game in which he helps teammates 18 times should relieve such concerns. A locker room has to feel good when its leader acts like a leader and focuses on making everyone else happy in a constructive way.
The other thing that should encourage Washington is that Marcin Gortat went 9 of 13 from the field and scored 19 points. It’s not so much the points, but the shooting numbers, which indicate a high degree of efficiency. If Gortat can remain that efficient, this team can beat Memphis on the road.
The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They just beat the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, their first win over a team currently in a playoff-bearing position in over a week. It had been a hard end to the month of March for Memphis, with losses to Cleveland, San Antonio, and Golden State, all teams ticketed for the playoffs. The Grizzlies’ previous win over a team in a playoff position was against Portland back on March 21. This team needed to know it could beat a reasonably good team. It did that against OKC on Friday.
The thing the Grizzlies had to love the most about their win over the Thunder is that they did something very difficult on defense: They shut down Russell Westbrook. Memphis limited Westbrook to 5 of 20 shooting and only 18 points, almost half of them from the free throw line. Westbrook’s number of turnovers matched his number of made field goals: five. Memphis also shut down Dion Waiters (3 of 11 shooting) and bothered OKC’s bench scorer, Anthony Morrow, who was just 5 of 14. Memphis accomplished a lot of good things on defense against a potent offensive ballclub. The Grizzlies should be very happy with limiting Oklahoma City to only 92 points. That’s something this team can build on, and tonight they're listed as NBA odds favorites.
The Grizzlies seem to be regaining form, especially since their defense is what they do best. Friday’s effort against Oklahoma City indicates that Memphis is ready to continue to win. Take them with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Memphis -7.5 at BetOnline