Memphis has stunned the NBA world by getting hotter than a pizza right out of the oven. Can the Grizzlies keep it going against the oft-stumbling Los Angeles Lakers?
When outstanding guard Ja Morant was injured, fans and basketball bettors alike were ready to wave “bye, bye” to the Grizzlies’ chances of being NBA playoff contenders. Instead of succumbing to what seemed to be inevitable, Memphis has rallied and is 5-1 SU and ATS since as they prepare to face the L.A. Lakers.
Now at 14-11 (15-10 ATS), Memphis is ahead in the Western Conference standings of both Los Angeles teams, including the one in the purple and gold they will face tonight.
The Lakers are bumbling and stumbling at 13-12 and while they are not about to panic, those of us watching the NBA odds see a team that is 9-16 ATS and that would seem troubling if you had a future’s ticket on this L.A. crew to win the West or the NBA Finals.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Thursday, December 09, 2021 – 08:00 PM EST at FedExForum
Though this is not a nationally televised matchup due to NFL Thursday Night Football, Memphis got a bit of a raw deal having to play Dallas last night but at least it was at home. Online sportsbooks like YouWager have the Lakers as -3.5 away favorites.
Lakers Seeking Answers to Multiple Questions
In the off-season, the Lakers bought into the old adage you need three stars to win an NBA Title. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis, they added Russell Westbrook, who is known for high effort and great individual success, but he’s come up short in the postseason. While that is not entirely on Westbrook, his style of play is widely regarded as negative to win titles.
Westbrook has played very well in his past eight games, but with LeBron in and out of the lineup, along with several bench players, conformity for L.A. is a conundrum.
While Westbrook is finding his role, A.D. has not and his game is like a multiple car wreck on the I-5. Granted, many of his numbers are around career norms, but you have to question the wisdom of him taking any three-point shot since he’s at an abysmal 18.8 percent. Though this could happen to any player, Davis's free throw accuracy is down several points, from near 80% to the low 70’s.
This is a club in need of several strong efforts as they had Tuesday when they blew out Boston.
Memphis Has Found Success Buckling Down on Defense
After being among the weakest and seemingly non-caring teams when it came to defense, the Memphis Grizzlies have clung to the idea of playing defense like a teenager getting a new video game system.
During this six-game stretch, the Grizz have permitted 92.5 PPG, which is amazing, when you consider they are still allowing 110.7 PPG overall on the season.
Though it is true Memphis has played teams that don’t score a lot of points or had key players out of the lineup, it’s not like that has not occurred in the past to the Grizzlies or any other team, yet they have put up those kinds of results.
Two players that have truly stood out are point guard Tyus Jones and center Steven Adams, and everyone is taking the cue from them and head coach Taylor Jenkins. This commitment has translated to the offense, where every player seems to value each possession and the casualness of previous actions has been replaced by focus and more attention to detail.
Lakers vs. Grizzlies Free Pick Prediction
Though the win over Boston was a real positive for the Lakers, that might not be the case for NBA picks.
See, Los Angeles is 5-13 ATS as favorite this season and when they are coming off a victory by double digits at the Staples Center, things bet even worse with a 2-10 mark.
We will ride with the club playing better at home in Memphis.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.