The Slumping Grizzlies Host Red-Hot Rockets Minus Conley

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Jay Pryce

Saturday, November 18, 2017 5:46 PM UTC

Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017 5:46 PM UTC

The slumping Grizzlies will be without point guard Mike Conley as it hosts the red-hot Rockets at FedExForum Saturday night (8 p.m. ET). Our prediction, pick, and preview this way.

Free NBA Picks: UNDER 214
Best Lines Available (-108) 5Dimes

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 Houston Rockets (-7.5) at Memphis Grizzlies

Conley Out, Grizzlies Slumping

Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley is out for at least the next two weeks with soreness in his left heel and Achilles. The 11-year pro played in 12 of Memphis’ first 14 games, averaging 17.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 4.1 assists in 31.1 minutes. Mario Chalmers will start in his absence. The conspiracy theorists will make a connection between Conley’s Halloween outfit, Chalmers, and his injury:

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It’s a Mario Party. Happy Halloween !🎃 pic.twitter.com/71xFy3nnQb

— Mike Conley (@mconley11) November 1, 2017
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The realists will blame the soreness on the fact it is the same Achilles tendon he tore in March 2016.

Since 2007, Conley is worth roughly 4 points to the Grizz. They are 43-65 SU and 47-58-3 ATS with the two-way guard out of the lineup, losing by 4.0 points per game. The average score is 97.1-101.0. The team misses Conley’s defense most. Memphis’ average scoring margin improves to 0.1 with the guard starting, opponents scoring trimmed to 97.8 points per game.  

With Conley ailing over the last couple of weeks, the Grizzlies are tanking. After winning five of their first six, they are 2-6 SU and ATS since Oct. 29. The usual shutdown defense is missing. Memphis allowed 94.2 points on 39.6 percent shooting during the hot start. Since, opponents average 106.2 on 46.6 percent from the floor.

Rockets Taking Off, Houston Wildly Efficient

The Rockets scored 90 points in the first half in its 142-116 rout over the Suns last time out. In 2017, NBA teams have failed to score this many for the entire game 44 times. Houston is averaging 120.3 points per game over its last nine, scoring more than 107 in each one. Memphis has accomplished this just three times all season.

Houston embraces the NBA’s analytics revolution as much as any team in the league. This franchise seeks maximum efficiency. It is the first team in NBA history to average more than half their field goal attempts from behind the arc at this point in the season: 44.4 of 83.5 come from deep. When Houston is not firing from the area, its taking efficient shots near the rim. The team’s 58.1 2-pointer percentage is tops in the NBA. Overall, the Rockets’ 113.6 points per 100 possessions ranks second (Warriors, 115.2)

Prediction

The Rockets and Grizzlies squared off a week ago to the day with Houston winning 111-96 as 6.5-point favorites at Toyota Center. The game total closed at 210.5. It was the third meeting between Western Conference rivals this season, and the first where the Rockets scored more than their projected team total (2.5 points). Memphis held James Harden, Chris Paul, and crew to 90 and 89 points in the first two encounters, 19.2 and 11.5 points less than the market anticipated.

The matchup presents a situation where the Grizzlies have played ‘under’ the total all season. It is 7-0-1 when they square off against a team making more than 14 percent of its overall field goal attempts from behind the arc. The Rockets enter with a rate of 18 percent. Conley’s absence will hurt, but likely more on offense. As long as Gasol is staffing the paint, Houston’s efficiency will suffer. Houston wins 108-102. Take the under for your NBA picks tonight. 

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