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MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (3-2) at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (3-2)

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Nov/05/2015
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (3-2) at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (3-2)

The Grizzlies will try to shake off two blowouts in less than a week when they continue their west coast swing Thursday night against the Trail Blazers.

MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (3-2) at PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (3-2)

Sportsbook.ag Line: Memphis -3.5, Total: 194

Memphis (3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS) is a small favorite in Thursday’s game, coming in on the momentum of a 14-point victory over the Kings on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Portland (3-2 SU and ATS) is returning home after winning two in a row on the road (SU and ATS) at Minnesota and Utah to start the month.

 

The teams are well matched historically, with a record of 36-36-3 ATS since 1996. Memphis holds a 9-2 ATS edge over the past three seasons though, with the team sweeping all four regular season games SU and ATS last season, as well as dispatching Portland 4-1 SU and ATS in the playoffs.

 

Both teams have compelling trends pointing in their favor. Bettors looking at the Grizzlies can take stock in the fact that road favorites who are poor defensive teams (allowing 46%+ FG) and poor rebounding teams (outrebounded by 3+ per game) are 30-8 ATS over the past five seasons, and the team is 101-68 ATS against good defensive teams (allowing 43% or less FG shooting) since 1996.

 

The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, are 87-56 ATS as home underdogs of six points or less since 1996, while underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points, who are good defensive teams (41.5% to 43.5% FG) are 42-15 ATS over the past five seasons when playing against a poor defensive team (45.5% to 47.5% FG allowed).

 

Memphis will be keeping a close eye on star C Marc Gasol, who left Tuesday’s game with neck spasms, and has been downgraded to questionable for Thursday night. However, the rest of the team is healthy. For Portland, rookie F Cliff Alexander is out indefinitely with a knee injury, and G Gerald Henderson is questionable with an injured hip.

 

The Grizzlies’ offense has been fairly lackadaisical this season, averaging 92.2 PPG, the third-lowest in the league. Accuracy has been an issue for the team, which has been shooting at a rate of 40.2% FG (fifth-worst in NBA), including a horrible 24.5% from long range (second-lowest in league).

 

PG Mike Conley has led the team in scoring through five games with a scant 13.4 PPG, and only three of his teammates are averaging double-digit point totals. Conley was his team’s top performer against the Trail Blazers last season, averaging 19.0 PPG and 8.7 APG over three games.

 

C Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer last season at 17.4 PPG has gotten off to a slow start this year with only 12.0 PPG. PF Zach Randolph turned in a solid game Tuesday against the Kings, scoring a team-high 20 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

 

Memphis’ defense has been spotty, faring well in the team’s three wins, but allowing a 30-point loss to Cleveland and a 50-point drubbing earlier this week to Golden State. The squad had a solid game against Sacramento on Tuesday, limiting its opponent to 39.2% FG, but for the young season, the Grizzlies have allowed 101.6 PPG (18th in NBA) on 47.1% FG and 39.3% threes (both sixth-worst in the league).

 

The Trail Blazers have been decent on both sides of the ball so far this year, scoring 101.6 PPG (13th in NBA) on 46.1% FG (6th in league) and 34.8% from 3-point range (10th in NBA).

 

The team is feeling the absence of last season’s leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge (23.4 PPG and 10.2 RPG), but PG Damian Lillard (27.4 PPG, 7.0 APG), SG C.J. McCollum (22.6 PPG), and SF Al-Farouq Aminu (14.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG) have all been doing their share to fill the scoring void. Lillard led the team to a 108-92 victory over the Jazz on Wednesday by making 14-of-27 FG, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range (46%) en route to scoring 35 points. He was the team’s best performer after Aldridge last season against the Grizzlies, and is poised for another solid performance on Thursday night, though he’ll be playing on zero days rest.

 

Portland’s defense has given up 99.6 PPG (13th in league), allowing opponents to hit only 41.1% FG (8th in NBA) and 28.3% threes (5th in league).

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