16 April, 2023
The Memphis Grizzlies’ regular season has been full of highs and lows. There have been hiccups along the way, despite the fact that we have maintained the second seed since January 1. Because to the fact that Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Steven Adams, and Jaret Jackson Jr. all played in fewer than 63 games, the Grizzlies were often need to switch up their starting five. Memphis has a strong sense of teamwork thanks to the fact that nine players have started 20 or more games this season.
As the team’s leader, Ja Morant will try to put his off-court troubles in the past. He posted a photo of a gun on Instagram and was immediately suspended for eight games. He’s been mostly healthy otherwise, but the Grizzlies can’t afford to lose him. The rising star averaged 27.4 PPG, 6.2 APG, and 5.7 RPG in his rookie year, earning him the award for Most Improved Player. His shooting percentage may be down, but he’s finding more open teammates thanks to more double teams. He’s making excellent use of the shooters he’s around, as seen by his career-high assist total of 8.1 per game.
Desmond Bane and Luke Kennard are two of such shooters, and the two of them combine for a 40% or greater three-point clip. Bane is Memphis’s undeniable second scoring option and a dangerous threat from deep. Because of his and Kennard’s contributions, opponents have to play more aggressive defense, which frees up the floor for Morant and Jackson. Kennard, who is shooting the long ball at a league-best 49.4 percent clip, is a threat to score for any team that leaves him open.
With a league-best 35-6 home record, the Grizzlies will host at least the first two rounds of the playoffs. Worryingly, they have a 16-25 record when traveling. Yet if they perform well in front of the home crowd, the Grizzlies might be in for a long postseason run.
The Grizzlies’ accuracy from three-point range is their one real weakness. They’ve gotten by on the strength of their second-ranked defense, but their Free Throw Percentage is at 30th, which might be a game-changer down the stretch. When you add in the fact that the Grizzlies rank just 24th in true shooting percentage, you have a team that may go cold at any time.
When NBA superstar LeBron James plays, everyone pays attention. The Lakers salvaged something from their disastrous season by earning the seventh seed and making the playoffs. At +1500 odds, they are the seventh favorites to win the title after a 9-2 run to close the regular season and a dramatic win against Minnesota. The Lakers spent months in last place after a dismal 3-10 start to the season. The Lakers were hopelessly mired in last place and a 26-32 record only six weeks ago.
There is genuine optimism in L.A. now that they can replicate their success in the bubble and win a title. James has been his typical controlling self, but at age 38, he needs a solid group of people around him. Yet, the Lakers’ lack of depth is cause for concern despite his 28.9 PPG scoring average, which ranks seventh in the NBA.
The health of both James and Anthony Davis has been a major problem for the tandem. It is difficult to create a team around Davis because he has only played in 59% of the Lakers’ regular season games in his four years there. When he’s feeling well, Davis is a monster in the paint and a rebounding machine for the Lakers. It’s not simple to average 25.9 PPG while also collecting 12.5 RPG, and the Lakers are a much worse team when he’s not playing.
Despite the fact that the James backstory is fascinating and the King is someone I would never write off, the Lakers have an uphill battle. D’Angelo Russell’s arrival has helped the Lakers’ scoring spread out, but the team’s depth is severely lacking with starters like Lonnie Walker, Jarrett Vanderbilt, and Malik Beasley regularly logging 20 or more minutes. It’s hardly ideal, considering the Lakers will be on the road for most of the playoffs.
Grizzlies vs Lakers Prediction:
Even though I’m a Lakers fan and will be rooting for James, I think the Grizzlies will win this series. Los Angeles has been on a tear leading up to the playoffs, going 10-2 and 18-7, both of which are impressive but haven’t been achieved against particularly formidable opponents. They have failed to show that they can consistently compete against strong opponents, having only played three of their previous 15 games against teams now in the postseason. Yet, with only six home losses all season, the Grizzlies will be able to take advantage of playing on their own court.
Although I will be rooting for Memphis, I do not anticipate a rout. As a unit, the Lakers have improved tremendously this season. They’ll have the crowd behind them in Memphis for Game 1 and should be able to cruise to a victory. Following that, things will turn around for the Grizzlies, and they will finally win. The Lakers’ offense, rated 20th in the league, will struggle to produce consistent points against the Grizzlies’ superior defense. In the paint, Jackson Jr. will be able to keep Davis in check, and the Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner routinely shuts down the NBA’s best big men as part of his day job.
This series will be exciting throughout, but the Lakers will ultimately come up short. In a close 7-game series, I’d take the Grizzlies.
Prediction: Grizzlies win in 7.
The Lakers are +120 underdogs against the Grizzlies, making this the most evenly matched series on the board. Honestly, I believe that statement is spot on. Even though the Grizzlies should be favored, the Lakers’ recent success keeps the line tight. At -135 odds, the Grizzlies are the initial betting favorite. As was previously said, the Lakers will go through extended scoreless stretches as a result of their inferior offensive production and their superior defensive performance. Second-best defense in the league and only six defeats at home all year? Sure, count me in.
The second wager for the evening is Over 5.5 games at -200 odds. Whatever the outcome, I anticipate at least six games being played. The +200 odds on Over 6.5 games are enticing, but I’d rather take the safer bet and eat the juice.
On the last wager, we lost so much money that we had to drink our juice. The odds of the Grizzlies winning in that span are +375. However, I’m like these chances because they’ll be hosting Game 7, which might prove to be decisive.
Grizzlies to Win in 7 Games At +375 (Bet it now at a trusted sportsbook)
Get More Great free picks at Doc’s Sports