Although most of the attention will be in San Antonio today, we place our NBA Picks on the home team Washington Wizards as they host the Memphis Grizzlies.
Home is Where the Wizards are…
Very hard to beat. Of course in the NBA, as in most sports, home field or court is a big advantage. This sentiment certainly rings true with the Wizards. At home they are very tough shooting at a 47.3% clip which is tied for third with the Clippers and just ahead of Eastern Conference leading Atlanta. They also shoot for 38% beyond the arc at home, tied for fifth in the league. Their defense is also plays vastly improved at home. They are seventh in the league allowing opponents 42.7% shooting from the field and 32.8% from beyond the arc (also seventh). I don’t know what kind of home cooking they get but it affects them in every major statistic. Our favorite though is a ball movement, they already are fifth in the league in assists per game at 24, but that even goes up to 25 at home.
Coming off a Back to Back and out of Memphis
Let’s face it, Memphis is a machine. I expect them to be right in the thick of things come playoff time. They have a great core from Conley to Gasol, they hit the boards, and play great defense. I think the Wizards though are catching them in a good spot to pull the victory. The Grizzlies are coming in off a back to back with both on the road (tough loss to Boston). Although they don’t struggle a ton in these scenarios, it does mean if you are going to beat them this is a solid opportunity. Overall their shooting from the field remains pretty consistent, but they do not shoot as well beyond the arc at 32% (third worst in the league away) compared to their home clip of 35%. Like most teams in the NBA, most of the Grizzlies offensive stats go down on the road (except assists), albeit just a bit. Defensively is where the biggest disparity is evident, opponents field goal percentage allowed at home is 42.6%, on the road, 46%. Beyond the arc allowed at home is 33%, on the road 37.5%, opponent scoring at home is 94.5, on the road 96.6. Memphis is a veteran team that does play better than most on the road, and they don’t tend to lose a lot statistically off of back to back’s, still we think the difference is enough to place our NBA Picks on a good Washington team that needs to start making a playoff push.
We Want (out of) the Funk
The Wizards did not come out of the break well (big understatement). Without Beal they struggled a lot, but with him back and healthy we expect them to start clicking again. Humphries and Temple being out shouldn’t be a huge blow in this matchup. Since the break the Wizards have averaged 43.5% from the floor and below 30% from beyond the arc. Recently they are starting to put it back together though, in their last three games they have shot 45.6% from the field, and except for a poor three point shooting display last game they have shot better from there their last five games for a bit over 30%.
NBA odds makers made Memphis a slight favorite in this matchup (5Dimes has them listed at PK), and it should be a good game from beginning to end. But Memphis might come in a little weary and the Wizards look like they are ready to start making their final push towards a high playoff seed.
NBA Pick: Washington