Week 6 for the Memphis Grizzlies kicks off with the understanding that the task ahead got a little bit tougher, as they’ll have to face the visiting Portland Trail Blazers without their starting point guard, Mike Conley. It’s a perfect opportunity for Blazers’ backcourt to shine and steal an important away win.
Trail Blazers at Grizzlies
Spread: Portland -1 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: o/u 193 points (-110)
The Blazers win against Sacto this time, 102-90
The Portland Trail Blazers salvaged a split in a home-and-home set against the Kings, winning the home leg 102-90 on Saturday night. They failed to dominate the inferior opponent completely but controlled the outcome throughout the second half. Scoring 20 points more than the last time made the difference.
The game looked like a continuation of the previous encounter early on. The Blazers couldn’t hit shots with regularity and the Kings opened up an early 13-18 lead. The same balance was kept until starters came back in the second quarter, and Portland suddenly went off. McCollum was ready to play once again, leading the team with 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, and hitting 4 of their 10 threes. Lillard couldn’t find the range from outside (he’s really struggling with percentages this season) but did well with 8-of-18 FGs to go for 22 points. He also had 6 assists. Nurkic was active, eager to make up for the previous blunders. The good came with some bad, but the Blazers are okay with 14 points, 7 boards and 4 blocks from their center, as long as the shots are falling. The Blazers finished with 54.3 percent on field goals and 47.6 percent on treys, executing their offense much better in the final three quarters. They didn’t push the ball in this game either, but got a much better support from their bench, both in terms of points and controlling the glass. The Blazers would eventually open up a 22-point lead and sustained Kings short run at the beginning of the fourth that dwindled the margin to 12. They remained in control in the fourth and improved to 9-7 for the season.
There were no new injuries to report. Aminu remains out for at least another week. The Blazers play the next five games on the road.
Place: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
Date/Time: Monday, November 20th, 2017. 8:00 PM ET
Memphis continue to slide, lose fourth in a row
The Grizzlies have been sliding lately and couldn’t do much to trouble the Houston Rockets on Saturday, finishing the season series 2-2 after winning the first two games. Now that the baseball-like matchup with the Rockets is done, they understand that they have to make ground to be considered a threat to the top Western teams.
Memphis lost 83-105 playing without Mike Conley, who decided to sit out a few weeks to heal the Achilles’ injury that had been nagging him for a while. While thinking about the future, it has left the Grizzlies struggle with the present. They started the season 5-1 and are now 7-8 and all the alarms are ringing. The pick and roll game is gone. They’ve held only one opponent to a double-digit scoring output in the last nine games (incidentally or not, Portland), and the reserve unit that had been among the best in the league stopped producing in numbers – only Tyreke Evans continues to roll. Against the Rockets, he didn’t have it either, and the Grizzlies got blown out. Coach Fizdale revamped his starting lineup to try and put up a unit that would work well together. It was a good judgment call but it only partially worked. Returning players Green and Parsons did very well on offense, but the defense still needs to work. Chalmers started for Conley and had a really tough task of facing Paul and Harden, so he can be excused for bad shooting night – otherwise, he did a fair job. Gasol also couldn’t hit shots, being thrown off of his usual game and trying to do too much to carry the load. However, while the starting lineup put up a fight during their court time, the reserves were left stranded. The second unit lead by Evans, Ennis and McLemore failed to move the ball and did too much individually. Houston made runs as the Grizzlies rested starters, in the second and spanning the third and fourth quarter, turning the game into a blowout.
Conley is expected to miss another two weeks or so, leaving the coaching staff scrambling for solutions. The Grizzlies have much better depth than advertised, but they have to work on the rotations.
Portland Trail Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Game Trends & Prediction
The Portland Trail Blazers played eleven of their first sixteen games at home (and only once in the last 8), but didn’t really made the best of it. They are just 5-8-3 against the spread. However, the under has been money – with 4-12 against the over/under, and 7 unders in a row, they’ve been as reliable as it gets. Unfortunately, most of it came at home. The Blazers are a plain 2-3 on the road.
The Grizzlies lost four in a row and didn’t cover in either, so it’s not a great time to trust them. They fell 6-9 against the spread, and 3-5 at home. They’ve been staying below the projected total points lines (5-9), and especially at home (2-6), but it’s more a result of their offensive struggles than the defense that crowned their play at the beginning of the season.
Admi-Rank: After spending the first four weeks at their expected level, the Grizzlies have now slipped considerably under it. The crisis is real and they might continue to go in the wrong direction for longer. The Blazers failed to impress so far, showing just an occasional glimpse of what is expected of a Western playoff team. It seems as if they’re barely hanging to an average NBA level.
If previous games had been an indicator of how this one will pan out, we already know that the rivals will play it slow, try to execute in the half-court and come up with some good shots in the clutch. In the previous game these rivals played, won by a single-point decision by the Grizzlies two weeks ago, Mike Conley Jr. played an important role on both sides of the court. With three new starters, Memphis will show a different look within the same system, and they should be able to play the Blazers on par. It’s going to come down to the reserve units – at the moment the Blazers seem to have better options off the bench.
The books seem to agree with me, as they’ve opened the market having the Grizzlies as a tiny underdog, a rare occurrence even when more formidable teams come into the town. However, I agree with them here, it should be a close match that will come to one shot and there’s no value on either side with this setting. My attention turns toward the total points offer, as the line has been tempting, set at 193 points. I’m going with overs here, trying to break the mold and trends. Yes, the pace will be slow, but Conley’s effect on controlling the ball-handler is greatly overlooked. Without him to put the clamps on Lillard, the Blazers guard will be much more efficient, and the lane opens. The Grizzlies offense is an issue of course, but I’m counting on a close game and potential late-game fouling, and the line is really over-friendly.
My Pick: (no wager on the spread)
Total: Over 193 points (-110)
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