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NBA Game Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Cleveland Cavaliers

Jan 4, 2022

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Game: Memphis Grizzlies @ Cleveland Cavaliers  

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET 

Odds: Grizzlies +3, Cavaliers -3 

Total: 217 

The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now. They have won five straight and just scored an impressive 118-104 victory over Brooklyn last night. Now, it’s on to Cleveland where the Grizzlies will take on a Cavaliers team that is headed in the other direction. The Cavs have lost three of their last four though they did win their last game, a 108-104 victory over Indiana on Sunday. 

Over the course of its last five games, Memphis is No. 1 in the NBA in net rating beating its opponents by an average of +12. In addition to Brooklyn, the Grizzlies scored wins over San Antonio, the Lakers, Phoenix, and Sacramento. They covered the spread in all but one of those games. They were a 6-point favorite against the Lakers and won by five, 104-99. 

Cleveland is 1-3 in the four games since Ricky Rubio tore an ACL. He, of course, will be done for the season. The Cavs have also had some COVID issues as well. The Cleveland injury report continues to show Rubio, Isaac Okor, Cedi Osman, and Collin Sexton as out. One plus is that the Cavs will get Darius Garland back in the lineup. He is listed as probable for tonight.  

The Cavs are a 3-point favorite tonight at home where they are 11-8 this season. Cleveland is the best team in the NBA against the number with a 26-10-1 ATS record thus far. They are 14-5 ATS at home this season. In the four games since the loss of Rubio, the Cavs are 0-4 ATS. Over the course of those four games, Cleveland ranks 23rd in net rating and has been outscored by an average of 5.6 points per 100 possessions. 

Tonight’s game presents a challenge for Memphis since the Grizzlies played last night. So far this season, Memphis is 3-3 when playing with no rest. However, when the Grizzlies have been the underdog this season, they are 11-6. In the past seven games that they have played as the underdog, Memphis has covered the spread in six of them. That includes last night’s outright win over the Nets as a 6.5-point underdog and as a 7.5-point dog against Phoenix on Dec. 27. Memphis beat the Suns 114-113. 

Memphis is 9-1 ATS in its last ten games on the road. The Grizzlies have not fared as well against Cleveland. In their last eight games against the Cavs, Memphis is just 2-6 ATS.  

Neither team plays all that fast. In fact, both teams rank 18th or lower in adjusted pace over their last four games. Over that same stretch, Memphis ranks seventh in defensive efficiency. Cleveland ranks No. 2 in points allowed per game this season giving up 102.4 per game. The Cavs also rank below the league average in terms of offensive efficiency. Each of Memphis’s last three games have gone Under the total. The total has gone Over in four of Cleveland’s last five games.