The man the Memphis Grizzlies need most will again be watching from the sidelines when they travel to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, and without All Star centre Marc Gasol, do the Griz have any shot at breaking out of their slump?
Since the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year sustained a knee injury, his team has gone 7-13, underlining his impact on their success in recent years.
Per NBA.com, when the Spaniard is off the floor Memphis go from a +/- rating of -14 to -58, while their offensive rebounding rate drops off the charts.
The injury has wholly unsettled the reimaging mission of first-year coach Dave Joerger, whose plans to instil more pace in the Grizzlies have been undermined by a defence which has dropped from the second-most efficient in the league to 24th inside a year.
In other words, games involving Memphis are no longer a lock for low scoring from their opponents.
They may struggle again today with the Pistons front line of Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond likely to prove a tough stop for Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos.
However Detroit has lost three straight and are a miserable 6-11 at home, and with the hosts’ struggles from the foul line continuing, the Grizzlies could have just enough to provide value on odds of 2.18 for the win.
The New York Knicks have been terrible all season.
In the fourth quarter they often even surpass themselves, particularly on Friday when JR Smith did what we thought only Andrea Bargnani could do by taking an inexplicably dumb three-pointer in the closing stages which cost his team a chance to upset Houston.
On Sunday, the Knicks visit the Dallas Mavericks, whose 103.5 points per night output has only been matched by New York in five games all season.
However the team from the Big Apple have reached 100 in their last three so have a punt on them going over the total points line of 201.5 at 1.87, with the Mavericks at 1.36 for victory.
Best bet: Back Memphis on the handicap of +2.5 over Detroit at 1.90