WHERE: Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
WHEN: 6:30 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBATV/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, knee), Justise Winslow (Out, thigh), De’Anthony Melton (Out, leg), Brandon Clarke (Questionable, calf)
NEW YORK: Mitchell Robinson (Out, foot)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
NEW YORK: Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett, Reggie Bullock, Julius Randle, Nerlens Noel
The NBA season is approaching it’s final stretch as it is two-thirds done, and the New York Knicks are currently the eight seed in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks are vastly improved led by Coach Tom Thibodeau and All-Star Julius Randle and the constantly improving RJ Barrett.
As the season has gone on, the expectation might have been that the Knicks would eventually fade out of the playoff picture because they haven't been a factor for years. The opposite has happened, and New York is very much in the playoff picture in the East.
Keys to the Game
Containing Julius Randle
Randle is in the midst of a career year across the board. The 2020-21 All Star is averaging 22.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 6 assists on 41% from deep (5 attempts), all career highs. His usage rate is also at a career high, responsible for ending 28% of Knick possessions.
Kyle Anderson will have his hands full guarding Randle as their style of plays are vastly different. While Kyle is more successful guarding fours on the perimeter, Randle is a more explosive athlete than many of the fours in the league. With Randle also handling playmaking duties, it will be key to keep him in check.
In 13 career matchups against Nerlens Noel, Jonas is averaging 15 points and 9.2 rebounds for a +112. JV just set the franchise record for most consecutive double digit rebound games in the midst of a career year himself. The Grizz will be on the road for their third game in four nights, so the legs may be a little tired. Often times, the best way to get a team going early on the road is to feed the post while the wings find their shooting strokes.
Luckily, the Knicks do not have a mid range shooting guard that will destroy JV on the PNR, so Valanciunas should look to have a huge game early. This has 30-20 written all over it.
Betting the Bear
The Grizzlies are currently 1.5 point favorites on the road with the Over/Under set at 213. The O/U is extremely low for today’s NBA and for the Grizzlies, who have lit up the scoreboard of late. The Grizzlies have covered six straight while winning 5 of 6 straight up. They have also hit the over 15 times out of 23 games on the road. Memphis has also covered in 10 straight games against the Eastern Conference.
Based on the Grizzlies 4 game streak, bet the over at 213 and the Grizz to cover 1.5.
Memphis has been dominant of late, beating two great defensive teams in Miami and Philly handedly. Expect nothing different against a less talented Knicks team that lacks the perimeter shooting to exploit a Grizz defensive weakness.
Memphis 115 New York 100