The Cleveland Cavaliers hope to avoid a third straight loss on Friday when traveling to Tennessee to take on the streaking Memphis Grizzlies. Since falling to the Sacramento Kings, the Grizzlies have bounced back with a vengeance and won six consecutive games. Youth hasn’t stopped them from chopping down talented veteran teams like the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have lost their last two games to the Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
Hellacious road trip continues for the CavsIt hasn’t been an easy stretch of highway to trek for the struggling Cavaliers.
They survived an overtime game against the Detroit Pistons before upsetting the Denver Nuggets. Then back-to-back meetings with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers turned the City of Angels into the City of Punishment for Cleveland. They were ramrodded in both games after giving up 128 points on defense.
That isn’t the sort of momentum they hoped to build when traveling to the FedEx Forum to face the Grizzlies on Friday. The Grizzlies are a top-10 scoring offense averaging 125.7 points in their last three outings. Slowing down that sort of high-powered scoring potential might seem impossible for the second-worst defensive team in the league. Opposing teams are averaging 115.4 points per game when the Cavaliers are the visiting team.
With Kevin Love sidelined for Wednesday’s game against the Clippers, Collin Sexton, the team’s leading-scorer, stepped up for 25 points. They’ll need a similar effort from him against the Grizzlies’ 23rd-ranked defense.
Morant’s rapid ascension has the Grizzlies rolling“Ja Morant is going to be an MVP in this league,” NBA analyst Tracy McGrady predicted on ESPN’s The Jump. “He’s going to be an MVP in this league, and he’s going to be arguably the best player in the game. I am going on the record and saying it right now.”
It isn’t hard to understand McGrady’s excitement considering how impressive Morant has looked this season. How many 20-year-olds can trash talk James Harden and win?
Granted, Harden still dropped 41 points on the Grizzlies, but it still wasn’t enough to stop Memphis from coming out with their sixth consecutive team victory.
They’ll look to extend the streak to eight games in a meeting with the Cavaliers.
The Grizzlies’ 16th-ranked offense will have the luxury of taking on a Cavaliers defense allowing a 49.2 field goal shooting percentage on the road. If Morant is bold enough to talk trash to Harden, he’ll be singing monologues to Sexton.
The Cavaliers clearly haven’t shown the firepower to match the Grizzlies on the offensive end of the floor. They are only averaging 103.4 points per game on the road against one of the hottest teams in basketball. Not only is Morant on the rise in the NBA, but Jaren Jackson Jr. is also an ascending talent that could help bury the Cavaliers on Friday.
Veteran forward Jae Crowder is listed as questionable for the game with a hip injury.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Cavaliers are 7-16 ATS in their last 23 games following a straight up loss.
- Cavaliers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
- Cavaliers are 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 games following an ATS loss.
- Cavaliers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 125 points in their previous game.
- Grizzlies are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games overall.
- Grizzlies are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Grizzlies are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Grizzlies are 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 games following a straight up win of more than 10 points.