NBA Handicapping Selections: Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies

Miami Heat at Memphis Grizzlies
FedEx Forum – Memphis, Tennessee

Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Memphis -2 1/2
Current Line: Memphis -4 1/2
Opening Total: 183
Current Total: 182
Opening Money Line: Grizzlies -175 / Heat +150
Current Money Line: Grizzlies -190 / Heat +160

The Grizzlies host the Heat Wednesday in a crucial battle with playoff implications for both teams.

The Grizzlies host the Heat Wednesday in a crucial battle with playoff implications for both teams.

Last night, the 53-24 Miami Heat lost at home to the Brooklyn Nets 88-87. LeBron James had his dunk attempt at the buzzer blocked by Mason Plumlee. It was the fourth loss of the season by the Heat to the Nets. Miami leads the Indiana Pacers by a half game for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Miami hosts Indiana on Friday night. However, Miami has a tough road game before that, as they travel to the 45-32 Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday night. The Grizzlies are currently a game behind the Phoenix Suns for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.

 

Miami beat Memphis 91-86 March 21 in Miami. The Heat closed that game on a 14-2 run and won despite a double double from Memphis forward Zach Randolph, who had 25 points and 14 rebounds. The Grizzlies have won four of the last five games in Memphis against the Heat.

Miami is coached by Eric Spoelstra. The Heat have been a little inconsistent due to boredom waiting for the playoffs to begin, and due to some nagging injuries to key players namely Dwyane Wade. He has missed the last seven games due to a hamstring injury, and is doubtful tonight. The Heat have won five of their last seven games. Miami plays three of their five remaining games on the road, starting tonight. Miami has won two straight road games but had lost six of their previous seven road games. Miami is 36-39-2 ATS and the total is 41-36.

Miami is outscoring teams 103-97 this season. The Heat are #11 in scoring and #6 in points allowed. Miami is shooting 50.4% from the field and 36.5% from 3 point range. The Heat lead the league in field goal percentage. Miami makes 76% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 45.3% from the field and 35.6% from 3 point range. The Heat average 37 rebounds per game and opponents average 40.6 per game. Miami is last in the league in rebounding and #2 in rebounds allowed. The Heat average 22.8 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 8.9 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 21.2 assists, 16.7 turnovers, 8 steals and 3 blocks per game.

Miami forward LeBron James is having another stellar season. James averages 26.8 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Wade averages 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Center Chris Bosh averages 16.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, a steal and a block per game. Point guard Mario Chalmers averages 9.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Guard Ray Allen averages 9.7 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 2 assists per game. Michael Beasley, Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen, Norris Cole, Rashard Lewis, and Shane Battier will also get significant minutes. Haslem was a late scratch last night against Brooklyn with a stomach virus, and is questionable tonight. Center Greg Oden is questionable with a back injury.

Memphis is coached by David Joerger. The Grizzlies have won 11 straight home games, keeping them in the playoff race. Memphis lost at the San Antonio Spurs 112-92 Sunday. Although Memphis is a game behind Phoenix for the #8 seed, the Grizzlies close the season next week with games against the Suns and current #7 seed Dallas Mavericks who are 2 games up on Memphis. The Grizzlies are 33-42-2 ATS and the total is 36-41 this season.

Memphis is outscoring teams 96-94 this season. The Grizzlies are #3 in points allowed but #27 out of 30 teams in scoring. Memphis is shooting 46.1% from the field and 35.2% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are #8 in field goal percentage. Memphis makes 74.4% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 44.8% from the field and 35.5% from 3 point range. The Grizzlies are 13th or better in both categories. Memphis averages 42.1 rebounds per game and opponents average 39.6 per game. The Grizzlies are #21 in rebounding but lead the league in rebounds allowed. Memphis averages 21.6 assists, 13.5 turnovers, 7.7 steals and 4.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 19.8 assists, 14.2 turnovers, 6.9 steals, and 5.1 blocks per game.

Point guard Mike Conley averages 17.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Randolph averages 17.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. Center Marc Gasol averages 14.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game. Guard Courtney Lee averages 11.2 points, 3 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1 steal per game. Guard Tony Allen averages 8.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. James Johnson, Mike Miller, Kosta Koufos, Tayshaun Prince, Ed Davis, and Nick Calathes will also get significant minutes. Prince is questionable with an ankle injury. Guard Quincy Pondexter is out for the season with a broken foot.

Miami is 4-1 ATS after a straight up loss, 6-2 overall, and 2-6 against Western Conference teams. The under is 15-5 in the last 20 games in this series, including 5-0 in Memphis. The underdog has covered 6 of the last 8 games in this series.

Memphis is 4-0 ATS on two days rest, 5-2 at home, 37-15 against teams with winning road records, 7-3 against Southeast Division teams, 1-4 after allowing 100 points or more, 0-7 overall, 0-6 in Wednesday games and after failing to cover, and 0-4 overall. The home team is 15-6 ATS in this series recently. The Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS in Memphis in the last 5 against the Heat.

If the Memphis Grizzlies were in the Eastern Conference, they would be tied for the #3 seed with the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls. However, in the rugged Western Conference they face an uphill climb to even get into the playoffs. Memphis is tough at home, and I think they beat Miami especially if Wade misses the game again. I personally think he will sit tonight and return Friday against Indiana, which is a much more important game for Miami.

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