If chemistry is fragile, then has Jeff Green been the unwitting battering ram that has knocked the Memphis Grizzlies off their familiar path?
And after dropping seven of their last 13 – and seeing a net negative in the points delivered by their starting line-up – are the Griz still a safe bet to go deep into the post-season?
You can easily spot the rationale for the trade that brought Green over from the Boston Celtics. Tony Allen is an A-grade defender but most nights, he is an offensive black hole. His replacement in the starting unit is chipping in 12.4 points per night since he started walking in Memphis.
Yet with Green off the floor, the Grizzlies’ defensive rating drops by 5.3 and with Dave Joerger relying heavily on his first unit, it means it continues to be worth backing against his side in first quarters, especially against free-scoring opponents.
Like the Dallas Mavericks, for example, who host Memphis on Friday, or the Portland Trail Blazers, their guests on Saturday.
The Mavs, putting up 104.9 points per game, can extend the Grizzlies road losing streak to five games and if Mike Conley prolongs his own spell out injured, then their hold on second place in the Western Conference is going to come under even greater assault from the still-firing Houston Rockets.
Memphis are still only allowing 95.4 points per contest, 2nd in the NBA. They still have a wealth of talent and experience. But it’s no longer a sure thing that they will deliver even at 1.75 to take the Southwest title with the Rockets good value now at 2.75.
And unless they tweak their Green Machine, the Grizzlies may end up being bears with sore heads.
There’s an event almost as rare as a solar eclipse on Friday night – the Philadelphia 76ers are FAVOURITES to win. That’s because they host the even more ghastly New York Knicks with the Big Rotten Apples at 2.85 for victory.
Now if I’m the GMs involved, Phil Jackson or Sam Hinkie, I’m screaming ‘lose ya bums’. Because with only two games between this sorry pair in the standings, this result could impact heavily on their Draft Lottery odds.
But the players don’t care about such triflings, with most playing for the futures in the NBA. So back the Knicks in the basement battle.
Best bet: Take Dallas at -5.5 in Quarter 1 against Memphis.