Grizzlies vs. Nets Odds
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Nets are on their first losing streak of the season after dropping back-to-back games to the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers at home. The Grizzlies are riding a four-game win streak and creating some separation in the standings out West.
Will the Grizzlies make it five in a row or can the Nets snap their losing streak? Let’s take a look at both sides of this matchup.
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Grizzlies Playing Well Despite Lineup Changes
The Grizzlies will be without Kyle Anderson, Dillon Brooks, De’Anthony Melton and Xavier Tillman for this matchup, which means depth will be an issue.
Despite their missing players, the Grizz are one of the best stories in the NBA and a team that went from the fringes of the West to the fourth-best team as we begin the new year.
We have seen a couple versions of this team so far this season: One with and one without Ja Morant. Over a three-week stretch without Morant, Memphis went 10-2, led the NBA in Net Rating (+16.5) and Defensive Rating (98.1), according to NBA Advanced Stats.
Those numbers have come back to earth since — a +5.8 Net Rating and 107.1 Defensive Rating in six games with Morant back — but they’ve tallied some impressive victories, including a game-winner against the Phoenix Suns.
For the season, the Grizzlies have been quite good in transition and they look to push the pace often, whether off steals or after missed shots. They rank ninth in the NBA with 112 points per 100 possessions in transition, per Cleaning the Glass.
Without their two best wing defenders, Brooks and Anderson, I expect the Grizzlies to be even more aggressive in transition and look for easier opportunities to score on the run.
Nets Struggling Late in Games
The Nets had so many players in health and safety protocols at the same time that they had three consecutive games postponed leading up to Christmas Day. For the most part the Nets are healthy, but LaMarcus Aldridge is questionable with a right foot injury. COVID aside, the center position has been a revolving door for the Nets with Aldridge, Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton all getting starts up front this season.
But the pieces on this team are mostly there to supplement stars Kevin Durant and James Harden. Since returning on Christmas, Harden has averaged 35.5 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in four games. Durant returned to the lineup for the past two games, and put up his usual scoring numbers but the Nets lost both games on their home floor.
In both losses, the Nets gave the game away down the stretch. Against the 76ers, they were outscored 18-11 in the last five minutes and against the shorthanded Clippers, the Nets were outscored 22-9.
The Nets for the season have a top-10 Offensive Rating (110.3) but their scoring dips to 25th in the NBA (104.0) in the fourth quarter. If their recent struggles in clutch time are any indication, the culprit may be that offense becomes a predictable two-on-five strategy. In those two losses, Durant and Harden took 11 of the team’s 18 shots in the fourth.
More times than not — and especially in the postseason — giving either one of those players the ball and asking them to create offense in the fourth is still a great option. If this game remains tight down the stretch, the Grizzlies defend the midrange well enough to make the Nets work for their late buckets.
Here’s a stat I was not expecting: the Nets are 4-13 against the spread as home favorites, according to Bet Labs. That’s the worst mark in the NBA.
They haven’t covered the spread as the favorite in a home game since Nov. 17. COVID absences may play a factor to some degree, but even in games where the line is -7.5 or lower, the Nets are 2-8 ATS. Even with the Nets’ advantages, I think the Grizzlies have value here as a younger more hungry team.
With the way the both teams have been playing, I think the Grizzlies can keep this game close late into the fourth. I like them to cover at +7.5 and I’d bet it down to +6.5.
Pick: Grizzlies +7.5