NBA Picks: Grizzlies to Top Spurs Friday Night

David Lawrence

Friday, December 5, 2014 1:34 PM UTC

Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 1:34 PM UTC

It’s one of the best NBA betting matchups of the young NBA season: the Western Conference-leading Memphis Grizzlies take on the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.

The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
Their offense has begun to hum and find the kind of consistency head coach Gregg Popovich has been looking for. The Spurs were a shaky offensive team in the first two weeks of the season. San Antonio was worried that blurry vision from Kawhi Leonard was going to disrupt the offense and get in the way of the team’s plans for the regular season. The San Antonio Spurs were missing a lot of three-point shots early in the season. They missed each of their first 13 threes in a loss at Houston fairly early in the new campaign. However, in recent weeks, these trends have begun to change. The Spurs, since November 11, have begun to figure out how to play together on offense, with only a few exceptions. Here are their point totals since Nov. 11:

113, 93, 91, 100, 92, 121, 99, 106, 112, 111, 109.

That’s relentlessly good production, and it’s worth noting that the Spurs have lost only one of those games, 94-91 to Sacramento (the third game on that list). San Antonio is 9-1 in its last 10 games.

San Antonio is playing the way it wants to play. Its defense is strong, allowing an average of only 93.1 points per game, which you should consider when looking at the NBA odds. Memphis’ offense averages 100.4 points per game, so if the Spurs can drag the Grizzlies down to around 95 or so, they have to like their chances, even on the road in Memphis.


The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They're the best defensive team in the NBA, and the numbers prove it. The Grizzlies have always prided themselves on defense since they became a force in the league and brought in Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol to anchor their front line. Teams do not get a lot of offensive rebounds against the Grizzlies, which means they do not get a lot of second-chance points, as they just don’t have easy opportunities to score against this team. Tony Allen is one of the three best on-ball wing defenders in the NBA, without question. He limits the flow of an opposing team’s offense and helps take offensive players completely out of rhythm. Memphis is a team well-suited to take away the Spurs’ ball movement and crisp passing.

The Grizzlies allow an average of only 92.4 points per game. The only other team which averages under 93 points allowed per game is Houston, at 92.8. The Grizzlies just have defense down pat. They have remained true to their identity, unlike a team such as the Chicago Bulls. Chicago was supposed to be a defensive juggernaut this season, but the Bulls allow over 100 points per game. Memphis’ defensive consistency tells you a lot about this team. The Grizzlies are 9-1 in their last 10, so the hot Spurs are not hotter than this club. Memphis, at 15-2, has the best record in the game alongside Golden State.


The Spurs are near the end of a very long road trip. This is not the best time for them to play Memphis on the road. Expect the Grizzlies to have more energy in the second half. Take Memphis with your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Memphis -1 at 5Dimes

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