The Grizzlies are trying to maintain the number two seeding position in the Western Conference. The Pelicans are in ninth place, trying to make their way to eighth and get a final playoff spot. The Grizz are a one-point favorite on the NBA betting lines.
The Memphis Grizzlies Can Win Because…
They are better and deeper than the Pelicans, and they're short favorites on the NBA odds at -1. New Orleans has Anthony Davis, who is putting together an MVP-level season, but the Pelicans are not as equipped at the other four spots on the floor. The Pelicans average only 99.5 points per game, putting them well below most of the other teams in the Western Conference, certainly those in playoff positions at the moment. The Pelicans get 24.2 points per game from Davis, 16.8 from Tyreke Evans, and 15.2 from Jrue Holiday, but only Davis is a consistent shooter. Evans and Holiday are not efficient enough. Evans hits 29 percent of his threes, and Holiday has to spend time deferring to his teammates so that they get enough touches each game. Eric Gordon averages 12.9 points per game, but he was supposed to be worth so much more when the Pelicans invested in him. He is not giving this team an adequate return. New Orleans cannot match Memphis in a position-by-position comparison. The Grizzlies allow only 95.7 points per game, so they should be able to wear down the Pelicans with their exceptionally good defense. No team in the high-powered Western Conference allows fewer points per game than the Grizzlies do. It is going to be very hard for this New Orleans team to break down Memphis under these circumstances.
The New Orleans Pelicans Can Win Because…
They're playing a team which is vulnerable in the face of a big man who can be active at both ends of the floor. Memphis had a lot of trouble with burgeoning French big man Rudy Gobert, who scored 15 points and grabbed a whopping 24 rebounds against the Grizzlies earlier this week, in a game the Jazz won comfortably… in Memphis. The Grizzlies had absolutely no clue of how to contend with Gobert’s size and energy. Young, powerful and tall, Gobert did exactly anything and everything he wanted against the Griz.
Well, now Memphis has to play Anthony Davis. Good luck with that. Davis is simply one of the very best players in the league, clearly in the top 10 if not in the back end of the top five. He has ripened into a complete player – not just a defender who can swat and alter countless shots, but a forceful rebounder and an agile, effective scorer who shoots well over 50 percent because of his ability to carve out space near the rim. Memphis is going to be constantly bothered by Davis, so much so that Davis can set up his teammates for very good shots in this game. New Orleans can play through Davis to create opportunities for the other Pelicans.
The Davis problem is a big one for Memphis, but the Grizzlies are so smart on defense that they can make adjustments and win this game on the road. Take the Grizzlies with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Memphis -1 at The Greek