The Hornets have been very disappointing early on in the season, and now they have to deal with one of the best teams out there in the Grizzlies. Still, we like Charlotte's chances of making a game of it tonight.
The NBA odds are very much in the Grizzlies' corner, which everyone expected. They've raced out to a fantastic 17-4 start and will now be at home against the inconsistent Hornets, with odds makers pegging the hosts as 10-point chalk. The total is at 192 points right now, which makes sense considering Memphis has been the top defense in the NBA and neither offense has wowed thus far.
The Grizzlies have rebounded after consecutive losses to Houston and San Antonio, as they took care of Miami and Dallas at home.
Memphis was last in action on Tuesday in their win over the Mavericks at home. Marc Gasol went to town, scoring 30 points to go with six assists and five rebounds, but it seemed like everyone was getting in on the action for the Grizzlies. Mike Conley had a 22/4/3 line, while Zach Randolph had a big 17/13 double-double in the win.
And while Memphis has allowed 100+ points in two of their last three, they still remain an elite defensive team, ranking first in the NBA in points allowed per game (94.0 PPG).
Coming in to tonight, the Grizzlies have lost just one time on their home floor, and it would take something crazy for them to fall here to the Hornets. That being said, we've seen crazier things happen before, and it's not like Charlotte is devoid of talent, so the Grizzlies are going to need to keep executing like they have been recently in order to wrap up a third straight win.
Expectations were high for the Hornets. They revertedback to the Hornets and wrapped up a nice free agent deal for Lance Stephenson over the offseason. However, things definitely haven't gone as planned. Charlotte is currently 6-15 on the season and is dead last in the division, even behind the Magic (9-15). We've obviously got a lone way to go, but the early results have been far from promising.
All it takes, however, is a winning streak to turn the tide, and the Hornets have managed to put together a rare two-game winning streak ahead of tonight's visit to Memphis. They've beaten the Knicks and Celtics to boost their confidence a little bit, with their win over Boston coming on Wednesday at home.
Al Jefferson was unstoppable in the win, putting up 23 points and 14 rebounds in 36 minutes. Kemba Walker had 18 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals, with Lance Stephenson chipping in with a 13/4/4 line. As a team, the Hornets shot just 41.7 percent overall with only three made 3-pointers, but their intensity defensively was the catalyst.
Will we see a third straight win out of Charlotte tonight? It's unlikely, but find out below why they may be worth backing against the spread.
OK, so the Hornets haven't given us many reasons to have faith this year, and the Grizzlies have been excellent, but we simply believe this is too many points to be laying.
Despite their shortcomings so far, Charlotte does have a lot of talent within its squad, and we do see them figuring it all out sooner rather than later. They've got a great big in Jefferson and some play makers in the backcourt in the form of Walker and Stephenson. It's not like Memphis is the most efficient offensive team out there either, so we think this game could very easily stay close.
It would be a surprise to see the Hornets win straight up, but we like their chances of covering as double-digit dogs in the NBA odds. With your NBA picks, roll with Charlotte to stay competitive in Memphis tonight.
Free NBA Pick: Charlotte Hornets +10