NBA Picks: Grizzlies vs. Suns

Joe Catalano

Sunday, January 6, 2013 4:31 PM GMT

The Memphis Grizzlies (20-10) look to rebounded from a 2 point defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers as they visit the Phoenix Suns (12-22). This will be a tough game for the Suns, as the Griz are equally solid as a road team, sporting an above .500 record.

Tip-off is scheduled for Sunday at 8:00 pm ET at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

According to NBA odds makers at 5 Dimes Sportsbook, Memphis is a 4.5 point betting favorite and the total for this contest is 188.

Can the slumping Suns get their act together at home against a better ball club coming off of a tough loss? Find out who we are backing with our NBA picks tonight.

[gameodds]5/133687/19-93-169-238-43-999996-1096-198/us[/gameodds]

A near miss

West coast trips are always a major test for any ball club East of Missouri, and the Grizzlies will make the journey tonight as they come off of a 86-84 loss.

 Key "injuries"

I don't think that you can necessarily call it an injury, but forward Zach Randolph missed the Portland game and is dealing with the flu. He practiced on Saturday and Memphis is hopeful that he'll be able to play tonight against Phoenix.

Aside from his burly frame, Randolph carries a lot of weight for Memphis, averaging 16.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game.  I would expect Randolph to play, and if for some reason that he sits out, Memphis has forward Marreese Speights to take his place.

Breakout performance

Marreese Speights just started his first game of the season, replacing the ailing Randolph. He came up big in the loss against Portland, as he posted 22 points and 13 rebounds in less than 30 minutes of play. On the season, Speights is averaging 6.9 points and 5.1 rebounds in limited time. You might see some more of Speights if there's any indication that Zach Randolph is not his old self. This makes a Memphis team that's stacked with talented big men even that much more dangerous.

Gassed

Center Marc Gasol has been slumping as of late, and in his last 4 games he is averaging 9 points and 6 rebounds per game. Gasol has been logging a lot of minutes lately, but Memphis needs his best effort as they go up against the Phoenix big men, Luis Scola and Marcin Gortat.

Beasting

In fantasy land, when a player is playing in a dominant manner, it's referred to as "beasting". For Phoenix, Luis Scola is beasting as of late. In his last 5 games, Scola is averaging 21 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.2 steals. Scola is returning to his old form from Houston that made him such a valuable player. He's a simple blue collar worker that will give defenses fits if they are lackadaisical on the defensive end. Scola might have a tougher time against a very large team in Memphis, but he has assistance in center Marcin Gortat.

Marcin Gortat

Like Scola, Gortat had a huge year last season and has been a bit less impressive this season. That said, Gortat is coming off of a 18 point, 11 rebound, and 3 block performance in a loss against Utah. Gortat has managed 3 consecutive double-doubles. Maybe this is the time that both Scola and Gortat have awaken as the Suns attempt to climb out of the hole that they put themselves in. Look for an exciting battle in the paint at the US Airways Center on Sunday night.

Part of Phoenix's problem is their defense. The Suns rank 26th in the league, giving up 100.6 points per game.

Outcome

With a Zach Randolph that might not be 100% and Marc Gasol slumping as of late, I like the Suns in this game. Memphis is the better basketball team. Despite the losses, the Suns have managed to show a little life as of late and 4.5 points should just be enough to cover the spread here.

NBA Pick: Phoenix +4.5 at 5 Dimes