Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers

 

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

(This game has been postponed)

The Memphis Grizzlies travel to the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, to take on the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night at 10 pm EST. Currently, the home team is favored by 1.5-points while the total sits at 222-points, down from 222.5 at the opening.

The Grizzlies continued their stellar play Monday in guard Ja Morant’s 2nd game back in the lineup as they picked up yet another victory over the Phoenix Suns at home as the team boasted 7 double-digit scorers while shooting 49% from the field (42% from long-range). Morant along with Brandon Clarke each posted 17 points as Morant dished out 10 assists while Clarke went 8-13 from the field. Memphis now finds itself a game above .500 and are hot on the heels of the San Antonio Spurs for 1st in the Southwest Division standings. In addition to this, the Grizzlies are currently red-hot against the number in going 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games, including covering as 5.5-point dogs versus the Suns.

The Trail Blazers enter this contest losers of 2 of their last 3 outings after they fell at home to the San Antonio Spurs Monday night as the road team broke open a tight game up to the final period when they outscored Portland by a margin of 38-22 en route to the victory. The Trail Blazers recorded yet another dismal defensive performance allowing over 50% shooting to the Spurs in addition to surrendering 15 treys while the home team shot 44%, including 29% from long-range, with Damian Lillard leading the pack with 35 points and 6 dimes. Portland failed to cover as 1.5-point dogs in the contest bringing their record to 2-3 ATS in their last 5, overall.

In head to head meetings, the Trail Blazers have picked up wins in 4 of their last 6 versus the Grizzlies, including 5-straight at the Moda Center. Memphis, on the other hand, has been more successful versus the spread in racking up a record of 6-4 in the last 10 amongst these 2 Western Conference squads. Portland has covered in 3 of the last 5 at home versus the Grizzlies, however.

Grizzlies seek 6th-straight victory versus Portland

Four of Memphis’ 5 starters posted double-figures in their most recent win over the Suns as aside from Morant (23 ppg) and Clarke (13 ppg, 6 rebs), Kyle Anderson (13 ppg, 7 rebs) and Xavier Tillman (9 ppg) also finished with 10 and 12 points, respectively, while combining to go 9-17 from the floor along with 3-7 from deep. Tillman has posted double-digits in each of his last 3 games while Anderson has increased his shooting percentage to 42% on the year. Furthermore, the bench has also been getting stellar play from trio Grayson Allen, who has posted double-figures in 4 of his last 5 outings, along with Desmond Bane and Tyus Jones.

However, one should look no further than Morant and Clarke for the bulk of the offensive production for a Memphis team that has posted just 109 points during their current 5-game win streak, but is connecting on over 45% of their shots on the year. In August of last year, Morant posted 35 points along with 8 boards on an efficient night in a losing effort while Anderson finished with 10 points, 6 rebounds, along with 9 assists on 4-6 shooting.

Important to add that each combined for 14 of the team’s 18 turnovers in the 4-point road loss. Despite this, the Grizzlies were red-hot from the floor in shooting 49% as a team while connecting on 14 treys, 11 combined by Morant, Clarke, along with Dillon Brooks (16 ppg).

Lillard and company destroyed by Spurs

The Trail Blazers are ranked near the bottom in the league in points allowed per game along with opponent field goal percentage in 2020. And while Portland is ranked 8th in the NBA in 3-point percentage allowed, team’s continue to shoot a solid 36% from deep. In their outing versus San Antonio, the Spurs converted on 15 of 33 attempts from long-range with Patty Mills and Rudy Gay hitting a combined 10 on the night. On the other hand, Lillard converted just 3-11 shots from the arc as the home team connected on just 10 of 34 attempts in defeat. In all, the Trail Blazers have posted 105 points or less in their last 3 games.

Important to note that aside from Lillard posting 35 points (5 turnovers), starter Rodney Hood along with Carmelo Anthony provided an offensive spark with 21 and 14 points, respectively, on a combined 15-27 FG along with 4-9 from long-range. The team will certainly need to rely more on the efficiency of these players along with more of an effort to stop teams on the defensive end as guard CJ McCollum (foot) along with center Josef Nurkic (wrist) may be out at least a week with an injury, with Nurkic not expected to be due back in the lineup until March. Center Enes Kanter (10 ppg, 9 rebs) will certainly receive more time at the position as he posted 9 points on 4-8 shooting with 8 boards.

On the other hand, Gary Trent, Jr. (12 ppg) continues to shoot decent from the floor, yet continues to struggle with consistency over time as he has not posted multiple double-digit games in the last 10 for the Trail Blazers. Nonetheless, if Portland does not commit to playing better defense, offensive production will not matter much at all as the team has given up an average of 120 points to their last 4 opponents, 5 points more than their yearly average. In fact, Memphis has put up an average of 122 points per game in their last 5 versus Portland, including 122 in August of last year in a 4-point road loss.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:
 

With their team back at full strength with Morant in the lineup, I see the Grizzlies not only covering the spread, but possibly pulling out an outright road victory versus a Portland squad that is shorthanded and struggling on the defensive end of the court as well.  Besides, Memphis is 6-3 against the number in their last 9 versus the Trail Blazers while covering in 3 of their last 4 games on the road while the home team has dropped 4 of 6 against the spread at home as of late.  In all, look for the road team to shine in this contest.

Prediction:
Memphis Grizzlies +1.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:
 

I expect this game to be a fast-paced, back and forth matchup between 2 teams that will be seeking to continue their stellar play or either seeking to crawl out of a streak of lackluster performances as in the case of the Trail Blazers.  The over has been the result in 3 of the last 5 meetings amongst these 2 teams at the Moda Center.  Furthermore, with the Grizzlies at full strength and with Portland desperately seeking a win, look for both squads to push the pace early and often to put points on the board as the over is indeed the strong play in this instance.

Prediction:
Over 222