Memphis at Sacramento
Time: 9 PM CST (NBA LP)
Spread: MEM -2
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Memphis Grizzlies are hot. It has won eight of its last 10 overall to improve to 28-26, currently seeding itself No. 8 in the West, in the postseason. The Grizzlies will travel to face the Sacramento Kings as 2-point favorites in NBA action on NBA League Pass at 9 PM (CST). The over/under is set at 230 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
MEMPHIS news & notes:
The Memphis Grizzlies have snuck into the playoff picture after surging to improve to 28-26 on the season.
In a year that was considered a rebuilding or tanking effort, Memphis has done anything but. The young Grizz are competing and winning games.
Memphis is led by a first-year point guard in Ja Morant and second-year forward Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson leads the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game while coming up with 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.0 steals/blocks in just 28 minutes a game. Ja Morant is seeing 29.5 minutes per game and averaging 17.8 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. Morant is shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39 percent from three on 2.3 attempts per game. Jackson is shooting nearly 42 percent from three on 6.4 attempts per game. Memphis attempts 32.8 threes per game and connects on 36 percent as a team.
The Grizzlies average the 8th-most points in the league at 113.4 per game. However, Memphis also has a bottom-five defense that allows 116.1 per game. Interestingly, the Grizzlies lead the league in assists per game with 27.9 per contest as a team. Between that chemistry and an improving defense, the Grizzlies may have a chance to stay in the top-8 and make the postseason in a year few considered it possible.
The Sacramento Kings are just 21-33 on the season, but the team has dealt with some injuries, and as usual, plenty of underachievement. Sacramento is again probably going to miss the postseason, which has been the case for the past decade-plus for a team that never manages to achieve the potential it seems to have on paper.
Credit injuries to its starting point guard DeAaron Fox and starting center Marvin Bagley for a lot of this failure. Fox has played in just half the games, and Bagley had missed all but one, through the first 20, but he is back albeit not quite in full-form.
That duo really is supposed to represent the cornerstone talents, along with Buddy Hield, and Sacto cannot manage to get all even on the court together this season. Hield has certainly thrived and is a borderline emerging star at shooting guard, though probably still a tier away from being an All-Star, particularly since he starts on a sub-.500 team.
Richaun Holmes has looked nice after not showing a ton his first five NBA seasons, and his emergence forced the Kings into an awkward situation of starting two true bigs at the 4/5 positions. While Holmes has continued to break out, the result has still been more consistent losing. Holmes is averaging 13.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in just under 30 minutes a night. Holmes then went down with an injury too, and he has been out for several weeks. Nothing manages to go right in Sacramento. Holmes is listed as questionable for tonight, so his return seems imminent.
Harrison Barnes is having a solid season as a King, and Bodgan Bogdanovic is a solid shooter, but the Kings are lacking the transcendental talents that would make Fox really succeed as the team’s leader in the backcourt. Fox averages seven assists per game, and one can only sense that figure as deflated on a team that is managing to muster just 44 percent shooting.
The Kings are attempting 35.4 threes per game and knocking down a solid 33.9 percent, but the scoring issues persist on a team managing just 105.9 points per game. The Kings need health first, but even a healthy roster this year still sees the Kings strike out on a postseason appearance once again.