The Memphis Grizzlies have had the rarest of treats this season – a three-day break from action. But will that help them explode back to life against the Houston Rockets on Friday night?
With Marc Gasol set to return to the line-up, the Grizzlies begin a run of five games in six days that will do much to demonstrate whether they remain contenders to go deep into the play-offs this season after a slump of sorts since the All Star break.
Gasol will act as a counterweight to Houston’s Luis Scola, who has stepped up his scoring for Houston in the recent absence of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin. And with a 2-1 lead in the season series, Memphis looks equipped to blow up the Rockets and take their first victory there in almost six years.
The New York Knicks define the word enigma. No team has been better without their full strength line-up but more disappointing when all their talent has reported for duty. Even without Amare Stoudemire and Jeremy Lin, the Knicks thrashed Orlando on Wednesday to extend their winning run to three.
The duo will likely both be absent again for their team’s trip to Atlanta but coach Mike Woodson, facing his former side, will take hope from the way the Knicks have improved defensively since his tenure began. That will stand them in good stead against the Hawks who are playing for the sixth in eight days. New York won 99-82 when these teams met last month and they’re very capable of a repeat.
Away from the NBA, the Final 8 of Euroleague Women is taking place in Istanbul and there is a winner-take all game for a berth in the final on Friday between Fenerbahce and Rivas Ecopolis. Fener are unbeaten this season in the competition and are rightly favourites to progress. But Rivas is a battling team and should fare better than the handicap odds of +10.5 suggest.
Bet of the Day: The Knicks to tame the Hawks at 3.5.