Saturday, 8 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Grizzlies ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
It has been an interesting schedule around the NBA this week because the league was off on Monday and then had five “marquee’ matchups on Christmas. Since “marquee’ matchups are protected in terms of not having teams involved playing the front or back end of a back-to-back, well, long story short: There are going to be some very tired teams on the court Saturday night playing a third game in four nights.
One of those will be the Boston Celtics as they make their only visit of the season to Memphis. The Grizzlies are in the catbird’s seat of the 18 teams in action Saturday. As far as this writer can tell, they are the only club either not playing a third game in four nights or the second of a back-to-back. That should be a huge advantage against the Celtics.
Boston has won four straight in this series and the past two in Memphis. Last year at FedExForum it was 102-93. The Grizz took a 73-71 lead after three despite trailing by as much as 21 early, but the Celtics pulled away in the fourth by scoring the first 16 points of the quarter. Kyrie Irving finished with 20 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Jayson Tatum had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Marc Gasol had 30 points and 10 rebounds to lead Memphis, while Tyreke Evans scored 25 points. He’s now with Indiana.
All-time, Boston is 12-9 in Memphis.
Grizz Like To Grind
While scoring is way up around the NBA, the Grizzlies didn’t get the memo as they are still a grind-it-out, low-scoring club. They have scored more than 100 points just once in the past 10 games (3-7 SU). The Grizz are second-to-last in scoring at 101.7 ppg but second on defense in allowing the exact same ppg.
Memphis has followed a five-game skid with back-to-back wins. It shocked the Lakers in L.A. on Sunday and then beat the visiting Cavaliers 95-87 on Wednesday. Gasol had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Few teams in the NBA will win while hitting 5-for-22 from deep, but the Grizzlies did because they held the Cavs to 35.5 percent shooting overall. Dillon Brooks, who showed some promise last year as a rookie, has played the last two after missing five weeks with a knee injury.
I’ll eat crow when necessary and have to from Thursday as I expected the deeper Celtics to win in Houston, but they couldn’t stop James Harden (45 points) or Clint Capela (24 points, 18 rebounds). Tatum’s occasional sophomore slump continued with just four points in 29 minutes. Boston was slaughtered on the boards, which has been a problem at times. Capela had two more offensive rebounds (seven) than the Celtics had as a team.
- Celtics are 4-13 ATS in their last 17 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Celtics are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Grizzlies are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games playing on 2 days of rest.
Celtics will be gassed and probably a little flat coming off “marquee’ matchups vs. the 76ers and Rockets. The C’s are 7-11 ATS on the road so back Memphis for a Saturday NBA bet.