Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies
Time: 7 PM (CT), NBA TV
Spread: WAS -2.5
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Washington Wizards lost their season opener 114-99 to the Atlanta Hawks and will now travel to face the Memphis Grizzlies at 7 PM Central on NBA TV.
NBA oddsmakers are setting the line 2.5 points in favor of the visiting Wizards, with an over/under set at 204.5 points.
The Wizards have been in a state of perpetual and annual mediocrity for the better part of a decade now, and with this year’s iteration so slightly different from last year’s, a repeat performance as a fringe playoff team seems to be the ultimate upside. News surfaced over the offseason that all between John Wall and Bradley Beal may not be so good, but the Wiz would be happy enough just to keep both healthy and on the court. Injuries have ravaged the Wizards and were largely responsible for the team failing to make the postseason in 2016.
Markieff Morris was basically the lone bright spot for Washington in its first game. He had a team-high 22 points on 9 of 18 shooting while knocking down 2 of 3 from three-point range and grabbing four rebounds, dishing two assists and coming up with three blocks/steals. The Wiz bench was also productive, producing 38 points, well distributed through seven scorers off the pine. Washington was outscored 33-19 in the final quarter, which basically accounts for the final outcome.
John Wall shot just 3 of 15 from the field for 12 points, but he had 10 assists (and five turnovers). Better days have to be ahead for the Wizards, but it’s uncertain if this team can really turn the corner or if it is time to deconstruct this current model and move away from Wall. Wall is battling an injury to two of his fingers that he sustained in the opener, but he is expected to play.
Ian Mahinmi remains out until late-November, but will be a good source of interior defense when he returns. He was signed over the offseason to help replace the loss of Nene Hilario and add another strong rim protector to a team in need of it.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 1-1 with an opening night win over the Minnesota Timberwolves and subsequent loss to the New York Knicks. Like Washington, Memphis is a team caught in some form of limbo, but with a veteran roster and plenty of talent on it, it is a team that can hardly just be “written off.”
Through two games, Marc Gasol has averaged 19 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks per game. Mike Conley signed one of the most lucrative contracts in league history (actually it was the single highest paid contract at the time it was signed), and he has been his usual steady self: 17.5 points, three rebounds and 4.5 assists per game, with the No. 2 highest PER of 22.3.
Zach Randolph has adjusted to his new role off the bench, and he is averaging 16 points and 10 rebounds per game in just 23 minutes a night through the first two contests.
Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, has been the play of James Ennis. The second-year forward out of Long Beach State has averaged just five points and two boards per game over his first 86 pro games, but this season is good for 15.5 points and five rebounds per game while shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 4 of 7 from three.
Ennis could be the difference maker to give the Grizzlies a better shot, but the real cruz of the matter in Memphis is Chandler Parsons at the 3-spot.
Parsons is still recovering from knee surgery, and his status is uncertain for this game. In addition to him being out, the Grizzlies are expected to be without Tony Allen, who is also dealing with a knee issue. Getting those swingmen back will help, but Memphis should be able to prevail as slight underdogs in this game.
A money line bet as 2.5 point dogs is not the greatest value (at +125 on 5dimes), but Memphis is a better team than the Wizards, unless Washington is playing to the level people think it should be at, rather than where it has been.