Pick Grizzlies to 'Cover' -11 vs. Lakers

David Lawrence

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 12:43 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014 12:43 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Lakers are coughing and wheezing as they head toward the NBA Draft Lottery. The Memphis Grizzlies, however, are not yet a playoff team – they’re still looking upward in the standings at the number eight team in the Western Conference. Will the Grizzlies be ready for this game, or will they get complacent and pay a considerable price on their home floor?

The Lakers can win because…

Their opponent might lose focus. Its human nature, two-thirds of the way through a long and grueling NBA season, to put forth the same high level of energy night after night. The Grizzlies were several games under the .500 mark in December due to an injury to big man Marc Gasol but has shown a steady reversal of fortune now that he’s back. The Grizzlies move to seven games above .500 (31-24) in the loaded and deep Western Conference. However, one has to appreciate the fact that Memphis has had to do a lot of hard climbing to get where it is today. The Grizzlies know that they still have to climb a few more games to get the number eight seed in the playoffs, but after all the work they’ve done, they could let off the gas pedal and play a distracted, emotionally flat game.

That’s what the Lakers – and those who take them with their NBA picks – are hoping for here.

The Grizzlies can win because…

Their opponent has been reduced to virtually nothing. There’s no Kobe Bryant on the scene for the Lakers but beyond that, they just don’t have very many resources to call upon. That fact was amplified in painful a few weeks ago before the All-Star break when the Lakers were reduced to five players in a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Lakers had just five eligible players and when one of them fouled out, NBA rules stipulated that Los Angeles had to field a fifth player.

The quality of this roster was diminished to begin with back in October, when the season was just getting started. Numerous injuries – especially the one to Kobe – only prevented the Lakers from being able to do anything about their plight. Los Angeles didn’t trade Pau Gasol before the trade deadline, a move which suggests that the Lakers think they can retool for next season. Yet, having one Gasol to counter Memphis’ Marc Gasol won’t be enough to rescue the Lakers here.

Outlook & Pick

This feels like a blowout in the making. Memphis is better to begin with and they are playing at home. However, the biggest reason to pick the Grizzlies with your NBA picks is that Los Angeles just doesn’t have any depth.

Pick: Grizzlies -11 at BetOnline

[gameodds]5/256666/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

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