Questionable Starters Make Celtics the NBA Pick vs. Grizzlies

Joe Catalano

Friday, November 21, 2014 3:28 PM GMT

Good defense wins games in the NBA and the Memphis Grizzlies are proof of that as they carry a 10-2 record into the FedEx Forum as and face the improved but overmatched Boston Celtics (4-6). Does Boston have any chance against the combination of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol? Stand by for our betting pick and find out.

Flu Bug Has Hit the Grizzlies Squad
There are a bunch of Grizzlies players that are listed as questionable for this game due to an illness. This has delayed the NBA odds from coming out.

Two starters are listed as questionable and that's Courtney Lee (14.9 ppg) and Tony Allen (6.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2 spg). This doesn't have a huge effect on the Grizzlies on the offensive end, but it does defensively. The "Big 3" of Mike Conley Jr, Zack Randolph,and Marc Gasol are healthy and that will be huge if Memphis expects to stay undefeated at home.

 

Betting Odds?
Obviously, they're not out yet, but the Grizzlies will be a favorite regardless and the total will be low. I'm going to make an educated guess and say that if Lee and Allen are both in the lineup, the Grizzlies will be a double-figure favorite. If either one of them are out, Memphis will be around a 7 to 9 point betting favorite. The Grizzlies are clearly the better team and at home in this matchup.

 

Marc Gasol's Team
A good basketball team needs a good big man and Marc Gasol ,who is 7 foot 1, 265 ponds, fits the role well. Memphis is basically the same team that they have been in the past. If anything, Conley Jr. and Randolph have gotten off to slow somewhat of a slow start and this team is still dominating. Yes, Zack Randolph is averaging a double-double, but he's had better years and there's a reason why he's moved around from team, to team in an above average career. 

Where Marc Gasol is concerned, he wasn't a great player at the beginning of his career, but has gotten progressively better, and now is a menace to the opposing team.

The Boston Celtics have nobody that can guard Gasol. Neither Jared Sullinger nor Kelly Olynyk is good enough to deal with Gasol and his size. On the season, Gasol is averaging 18 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He's not all about the numbers; it's his presence on the court which makes Memphis so tough defensively and also keeps the Memphis games low scoring where betting totals are concerned.

 

Rajon Rondo
Rondo is quietly having a spectacular season. He has a legitimate shot at averaging a triple-double and that's quite difficult for a 6 foot 1 point guard to accomplish.

Effort and basketball I.Q. are what separates this former University of Kentucky guard and NBA Champion from most point guards. The one thing that will always be lacking from Rondo's game is a consistent outside shot. Even though he's a 46 % shooter from the field, he doesn't aggressively look for his shot. Rondo would much rather pass the ball and defer to guys who like the ball in their hands such as leading scorer Jeff Green (19 points per game).

With the uncertainty of Tony Allen and Courtney Lee playing, expect Jeff Green to have a big game. Even if they play, both Allen and Lee might not be 100%.

 

Outcome
When making your NBA picks keep in mind that this game does depend on the players whose status is uncertain, but I expect Boston to cover the spread and most likely lose in a tight game as Memphis won't be 100%.

NBA Pick: Boston Celtics