Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers (11/2 @ 10:00 p.m. EST.)
Memphis Grizzlies vs Portland Trail Blazers Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Memphis Grizzlies (4-3) are heading to the Pacific Northwest for a matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers (5-1) Wednesday at 10:00 p.m. ET. The Grizzlies are 4.5-point road favorites. The over/under is set at 226.
Portland has won four of the last five matchups including a split in Portland last season. Last year, Portland went 3-1, winning the first matchup by 20 points. The two teams have yet to play each other this year.
Memphis got off to a boiling hot start, winning four of five games, but they have stumbled in their last two games, falling to the Jazz in Utah twice. Memphis has been undone by the league’s worst defense, a unit that allows 121.4 points per game. The offense has been as good as advertised, ranking third in points per game and sixth in offensive rating, but the defense has been a problem spot. Star guard Ja Morant did miss a game, but he should be healthy moving forward. Memphis is still missing one of the key pieces in Jaren Jackson Jr.
Morant is one of four Grizzlies averaging 10 points per game with Santi Aldama narrowly missing out. Morant is shooting a blistering 55% from the field, nailing 56% of his triples. All told, he is averaging 33.3 points per game. Desmond Bane is coming along nicely as a secondary star, pouring in 24.2 points per game. In four games, Dillon Brooks has averaged 16 points per game, and Tyus Jones has brought energy to the second unit with 13.3 points per game and 4.3 assists per game.
Defensively, the Grizzlies have been bordering on disaster. No individual player has a defensive rating better than 112. John Konchar is the only player with a positive defensive box plus/minus. Konchar might be a solid defensive player, but he has been a negative on the offensive end. To this point, the Grizzlies have had to outscore all of their opponents. While a team led by Morant can score at will, it can be tough to maintain night over night.
In their last five games, Memphis is 2-3 ATS. Two of these losses game as favorites in Utah, and their other loss came in a blowout loss in Dallas. This will be the largest spread Memphis has had to cover in their last five games. The over is 3-2 in their last five games, but they have cleared 226 total points in each of the last five.
Trail Blazers Overview
Portland has gotten off to an unexpectedly hot start. Despite being projected as a losing team, they won their first four games and enter play with a 5-1 record. They had impressive wins in Los Angeles (Lakers) and at home against Denver on two nights in a back-to-back. Portland has operated with a balanced approach. They are 14th in scoring, eighth in scoring defense, eighth in offensive rating, and ninth in defensive rating. Their net rating of +4.8 puts them sixth in the league.
However, the Blazers must tread water without Damian Lillard who sustained a calf injury. He will be out for a few weeks. The Blazers are also without Gary Payton II for at least two more weeks.
Lillard had been scoring at an incendiary clip, but the Blazers must lean on the likes of Anfernee Simons and Josh Hart. Simons showed flashes as a No. 1 scorer last season, and he has scored 20.5 points per game this season as a secondary option. Hart has scored 10.5 points per game as the third guard on the floor. Both members of the starting frontcourt are averaging 13.5 or more points per game in Jerami Grant and Jusuf Nurkic. The lights will be on rookie Shaedon Sharpe who is replacing Lillard in the lineup.
Despite not having a roster full of stoppers, the Blazers have been good defensively for the most part. Hart, Nurkic, and Justice Winslow have played at least 20 minutes per game and have a defensive rating below 110. Hart has averaged 1.3 steals per game, and Nurkic has 2.0 combined steals and blocks. Winslow has been particularly effective, nabbing 1.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game in about 25 minutes of action per night. The Blazers could improve defensively with Sharpe’s size instead of Lillard, but that is asking a lot of the rookie.
Portland is 4-1 ATS in their last five games. They won three straight games as underdogs against Phoenix, the LA Lakers, and Denver before dropping a game to the Heat. The under is 2-2-1, a testament to Portland’s sturdy defense.
Free Pick: Grizzlies -4.5
Portland is one of the toughest places to play, but they have a thin margin for error without Lillard. While the offense and defense have both been good this season, Portland’s personnel is not quite as good as Memphis’. Leaning Grizzlies -4.5 relies on Morant playing at a reasonable level, a mark he has cleared easily this season. With Memphis’ porous defense, there could be a bucketload of points scored, but the Grizzlies should win.
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