There’s been only one foe that’s seriously troubled the Memphis Grizzlies lately – and if not for the flu bug, the NBA’s pacesetters would surely be taking a six-game winning streak into tonight’s clash with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Sending home half the team ill tipped the balance in their midweek loss to Toronto but otherwise, the Grizzlies have done enough to suggest that their current title odds of 31.00 are way off base and that they’re very capable of making a deep playoff run.
What’s impressed most about the Grizzlies isn’t that they’re 7-0 at home or giving up just 92.5 points per game, 3rd overall. Or that Justin Timberlake is happy to come down hard on anyone questioning his loyalty to his hometown heroes.
It’s that Memphis have looked wonderfully efficient during their 11-2 start, making the most of a kind schedule to build the kind of momentum which will stand them in good stead, with Marc Gasol among those pushing his candidacy to be in the MVP stakes.
In December, it gets much harder with clashes with San Antonio (thrice), Dallas, Golden State, Chicago, Cleveland and Houston. By the turn of the New Year, we’ll have a proper evaluation of their credentials.
And a visit from the Clippers will be ideal prep. LA have started their road trip with successive wins in Miami and Orlando by large margins, and no team is scoring more on their travels so far.
The difference between the Grizzlies of two years ago and now, however, is that Memphis is capable – and willing – to go score for score with opponents rather than simply relying on their defence.
And while the Clippers are a generous 2.35 for victory, have a punt on a high point tally with the hosts restored to rude health.
Best bet: Go over 205.5 total points in Memphis-Clippers at 2.95