The Lakers and Grizzlies hook up from the FedEx Forum on Beale Street tonight, and the NBA odds have Memphis as a -2 ½ favorite, with a total of 193 ½. The Grizzlies have been dealing with injuries to multiple key players, and with Marc Gasol already out, Memphis could have another bigger problem on their hands tonight.
Mike Conley left Memphis’ last game with a thigh bruise, and it appears as if his status is up in the air. He did not practice on Monday, and although it seems as if he’s going to try and play, he is far from 100%. While this hurts the Grizzlies a lot, it might not be such a bad thing going up against the Lakers. I think Conley will play, but either way, I still think Memphis is the best play for our NBA picks here at -2 ½.
Jerryd Bayless will likely take over most of the minutes, however Memphis doesn’t lose much with him on the floor. He adds a lot to the table with his offense, and even though his defense and passing isn’t at Conley’s level, I expect him to play well because all of the Lakers’ point guards are missing this game.
LA is starting three shooting guards because of the lack of a point guard, and that has not been kind to either side of the ball for them. Kobe Bryant has become the main facilitator, and that really takes away from his scoring upside. Either way this game goes, it appears as if on the road and with all of their injuries, the Lakers don’t stand much of a chance tonight.
One guy for the Grizzlies that is playing tonight is Tony Allen, and I expect him to be the x-factor tonight against the Lakers. If he can limit Bryant to being little more than the black Steve Nash tonight, the Grizzlies are going to cruise. It’s a hard game to pick considering both teams have been atrocious bets ATS over their last five games, however Memphis is the healthier team, especially if Conley can tough out this thigh bruise and play tonight.
The Sharp Pick
The Lakers are one of the worst teams allowing both offensive and defensive rebounds, and I fully expect Zach Randolph to own the paint tonight, even against Pau Gasol. Even though Memphis hasn’t played very good defense so far this season, it has been better than most teams, especially the Lakers.
LA is giving up 107 points per game on the road this season, and after playing last night in Atlanta, they will be tired, and probably give up more. While I can’t see the banged up Grizzlies getting 114 on the Lakers like the Hawks did last night, I think just over 100 is a reasonable expectation for Memphis. Even though they have lost three in a row SU, I like them to turn things around at home tonight.
The Grizzlies are 7-0 when scoring at least 100 points going back to the end of the last regular season, and in five of those, they held their opponent to under 100 as well. Against the poor defense of the Lakers, 100 points is what the Grizz will get, and it will also get them the win and cover.My Pick: Grizzlies -2 ½