NBA TV Picks ATS: Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers

Mike Conley is the heart and soul of the Grizzlies.
Mike Conley is the heart and soul of the Grizzlies.

Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trail Blazers
Time: 9 PM CT (NBA TV)
Spread: MEM -1
Total: 195

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

This is a battle of two teams that may be duking it out in the lower part of the Western Conference Playoff standings. Currently, though just approaching mid-season, the Memphis Grizzlies are 3.5 games ahead of the No. 9 Trail Blazers.

Memphis has been closer to mediocre this season than the quasi-contender it has been in the past, and NBA oddsmakers favor the visiting Grizzlies by just 1-point over Portland.

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The Trail Blazers have not been an overly dominant home team at just 8-6 this season. The Grizzlies typically are very good on the road, but this year that marks sits at just seven wins in 18 games.

The Trail Blazers have won four of its past five contests, most recently knocking off the lowly Denver Nuggets 112-106. Shooting guard C.J. McCollum paced the Blazers with 25 points and seven assists, playing well in the absence of Damian Lillard.

Lillard is battling plantar fasciitis but is expected to be back for this game. McCollum can more than carry the load, however, if Lillard is a little gimpy.

McCollum is averaging 27.4 points and 6.4 assists over the Blazers last five games, while hitting 51.9 percent from the floor and 42.9 percent from behind the arc. His emergence has been one of the biggest surprises this season, and it is also why the Blazers are a far more dangerous team than most anticipated going into this season.

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But as good as the Blazers perimeter players have been, this is a team badly in need of a post presence.

Opposing centers have feasted on the Blazers who have mostly young talent at the 4/5-spots. Mason Plumlee and Meyers Leonard are both good offensive players, but their defensive efforts need a lot of work. The pair combines to average 18.2 points and 13 rebounds from the 5-spot, while Ed Davis has served as mostly an energy guy behind them. Davis is posting 6.7 points in 21.3 minutes per game, but he has been Portland’s best interior defender, coming up with 1.37 steals/blocks.

The Grizzlies had a two-game winning streak snapped by the Utah Jazz last night, losing by a tally of 92-87. Memphis placed four of five starters in double figures, led by Marc Gasol’s 20 points on 8 of 20 shooting. Gasol also had four assists in the game and blocked two shots.

Tony Allen quietly had a huge game with 13 points and three steals, posting the best Plus/Minus of any Grizzly at +14. The Grizzlies remain one of the league’s better defensive teams, but the waning offensive skills of Zach Randolph have impacted this team in a pronounced fashion.

Moreover, Jeff Green is mortally underachieving on a roster that badly needs his scoring talents to take hold. The Grizzlies have got good play out of its guard rotation and Gasol is having a monster season, but there are a lot of holes to address before other Western Conference teams fear the Grizzlies as the rugged “Grit and Grind” team it has been known as in recent seasons.

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