#657 Memphis Grizzliesvs.#658 New Orleans Pelicans
Written by Chris Kubala
Memphis Grizzlies (40-30 SU, 36-34 ATS, 34-34-2 O/U) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (29-41 SU, 35-34-1 ATS, 32-38 O/U)
NBA: Tuesday, March 21, 2017, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, 8 pm ET
Line: New Orleans -2.5; Over/Under: 205
It’s a Southwest Division matchup down in the Big Easy. The Memphis Grizzlies are on the road as they travel to face the New Orleans Pelicans Tuesday night. Memphis won their fourth straight after downing San Antonio 104-96 at home Saturday night. New Orleans won for the fourth time in five games as they ran past the Timberwolves 123-109 at home Sunday. The Pelicans hold a narrow 29-26 advantage in the all-time regular season series between the teams. The Grizzlies have taken two of the three matchups this season with New Orleans claiming a 95-91 win on the road in the last contest on February 15.
Memphis has turned the corner again with four straight wins after a five-game slide. The Grizzlies are tied for sixth with Oklahoma City in the Western Conference and entered Monday just one game behind the Clippers for the fifth spot. Memphis led by 11 after one quarter but saw that trimmed to one at the half. After holding a two point lead entering the fourth, the Grizzlies outscored the Spurs 29-23 in the final 12 minutes to get the win. Memphis shot 42.1 percent from the floor and hit 13 of 30 three point attempts in the win. Mike Conley led six Grizzlies in double figures with 19 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the win. Memphis did announce that Chandler Parsons would undergo knee surgery and likely is done for the year.
The Grizzlies limp into this one ranked 27th in scoring offense in the league as they average 101.4 points per game. Memphis is in the bottom third of the pack in the league on the glass, ranking tied for 19th with 43.1 boards a night. The Grizzlies are 22nd in the league in assists with 21.3 per game. Memphis stands 4th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 100.4 points per game. Mike Conley is second on the team with 20 points plus 6.3 dimes per contest. Marc Gasol averages a team high 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game while Zach Randolph contributes 14.1 points plus 8.1 rebounds per game in a sixth man role. James Ennis adds 6.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Vince Carter, Jarell Martin, Troy Daniels (eight points), Andrew Harrison and Tony Allen (9.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.69 steals) are key members of the Memphis rotation. The Grizzlies are last in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 43.5 percent from the floor. Memphis is 15th in the league with 9.3 threes per game and 18th in the league as they shoot 35.4 percent from beyond the arc.
New Orleans has won four of their last five but one has to wonder if it’s too late for them as far as the playoffs go. The Pelicans stand four games behind the Nuggets with 12 points to go. New Orleans trailed by six after the opening quarter and at the half before taking control. The Pelicans outscored the Timberwolves 75-55 the rest of the way to get the victory. New Orleans shot a sizzling 55.1 percent from the field in the contest and drilled 14 of their 30 three point attempts. The hot shooting helped offset the fact that the Timberwolves shot 51.8 percent in the game. Anthony Davis led six Pelicans in double figures with 28 points and 12 rebounds in the win.
The Pelicans are 20th in the league in scoring offense with 103.6 points per game. The Pelicans are 10th in rebounding with 44.1 boards per game while ranking 12th with 22.6 assists per contest. New Orleans is 18th in scoring defense as they give up 106 points per contest. Anthony Davis is leading the Pelicans in scoring with 27.8 points to go with 11.8 rebounds, 1.21 steals and 2.26 blocks per game. Bringing in DeMarcus Cousins (26.5 points, 10.8 rebounds) to play alongside him will take a ton of pressure off Davis. E’Twaun Moore contributes with 9.9 points a night while Tim Frazier contributes 7.6 points plus 5.2 assists per contest. Donatas Motiejunas, Dante Cunningham, Solomon Hill, Jordan Crawford and Alexis Ajinca have to contribute when they are on the floor. Jrue Holiday (15.8 points, 7.2 assists) has been solid running the point. New Orleans is tied for 21st in field goal percentage shooting 44.7 percent from the floor. The Pelicans are 14th with 9.4 made threes per game and stand 19th in the league by converting 35.3 percent from long range this season.
Both teams have played well in the last week or so with a combined eight wins in their last nine games. Memphis is trying to climb from the seventh spot and a first round matchup likely with the Spurs. Meanwhile, New Orleans is trying to get a playoff spot at this point and it doesn’t matter who the opponent is. The Pelicans are playing solid basketball all of the sudden with the rotation starting to put things together. Look for New Orleans to keep their momentum going as the Grizzlies continue to try and figure out who will fill the role at small forward.
Memphis has strung together one of their best stretches of the last few months in these past four games. The fact that the Grizzlies pulled that off after losing five in a row is a nice bounce back for the team. Memphis has got a shot at catching the Clippers, Oklahoma City or both to improve their standing in the Western Conference playoff picture. On the flip side, New Orleans is playing well but the miserable stretches of play we’ve seen from the Pelicans may make this run too little, too late for them as far as making the postseason.
The over is 4-0 in the Grizzlies last 4 Tuesday games, 5-0 in their last 5 vs. Western Conference competition, 6-2 in their last 8 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game and 7-3 in their last 10 overall. New Orleans has seen the over go 4-1 in their last 5 overall and 23-9 in their last 32 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points. The teams have gone over the total in four of their last five meetings in New Orleans and in five of their last seven meetings overall. Given the solid showings by both teams of late, look for this one to go over the number.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.