Grizzlies vs. Knicks Odds, Expert Pick, Preview, Prediction: Back Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Memphis on the Road (November 27)
Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured: Desmond Bane (left) and Ja Morant (right).
- The Grizzlies head to Madison Square Garden to face the Knicks on Sunday night.
- The Grizzlies have several edges in this matchup, but will they overcome what should be a raucous crowd rooting on the Knicks?
- Chris Baker breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.
Grizzlies vs. Knicks Odds
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The Knicks will face the Grizzlies in a rematch from opening night on Sunday. Will the Grizzlies prevail once again, or can the Knicks defend the Garden? Let’s break down how these teams match up in this one.
Morant and Bane Back for the Grizzlies
The Grizzlies have struggled to generate any sort of consistent winning streak as they sit at just 11-8 through 19 games. Their inability to find a consistent rhythm can be attributed to injuries. Each of their three best players has missed time as Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. have all missed multiple games this year.
Morant and Jackson Jr. are back in the lineup for this one and should put a ton of pressure on a Knicks defense which has struggled to start the year. The Knicks rank 26th in Defensive Rating and have been particularly poor in a number of areas in which the Grizzlies excel.
Memphis has the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA since trading for Steven Adams two years ago, and that has not changed as they rank second in Offensive Rebound Rate (32.7%) this year.
This is a massive edge for the Grizzlies as the Knicks are one of the worst defensive rebounding teams in the NBA, ranking 28th in Defensive Rebound Rate. The Knicks have allowed opponents to rebound over 30% of their misses this year.
Memphis also has a second major edge in transition. The Grizzlies offense ranks eighth in Transition Frequency and seventh in transition points per 100 possessions, according to Cleaning the Glass. The Knicks are polar opposites in terms of their transition defense as they rank 28th in points per 100 possessions allowed in transition. If the Knicks can’t force the Grizzlies to play in the half-court, it’s going to be a long night for them.
Can the Knicks Step Up Without Brunson?
The Knicks have been perfectly average to begin the year as they sit at (9-10) through 19 games. I mentioned some of their defensive struggles above, but the offense hasn’t been much better as they rank just 18th in Adjusted Offensive Rating, per dunks and threes.
The primary issue with their offense has been that their star players haven't been consistently efficient–an issue that dates back to last season. RJ Barrett is currently shooting 26.9% from 3 and has one of the worst Effective Field Goal percentages in the league (44.3%). He has probably been the least efficient high-usage player in the NBA and is actively costing the Knicks games with selfish decision-making and an inability to make shots.
Julius Randle has been much better, but that isn’t saying much as he still ranks in just the 49th percentile of eFG% (53.3%). I mention these two players because it is highly likely that we see a Usage Rate bump for them given the potential absence of starting point guard Jalen Brunson.
Brunson is officially listed as questionable, but he may miss the game considering the Knicks are coming off an overtime defeat on Friday that saw him log 41 minutes of action. Brunson’s absence would be a huge loss as he has been the only consistently efficient offensive engine for the Knicks.
Unlike the Grizzlies, the Knicks have very few discernible edges entering this game. The Grizzlies match up extremely well with the Knicks as they should have Jackson Jr. guard Randle and Dillon Brooks on Barrett. Brooks and Jackson are both elite defenders and should limit the Knicks lefties.
If these two players struggle, it is hard to imagine the Knicks scoring a ton given that key role players Cam Reddish and Derrick Rose are also questionable. Ultimately, don’t expect the Knicks to have much success on offense against this physical Grizzlies team.
I like the Grizzlies to cover on the road at the Garden on Sunday night. The Knicks are coming off a grueling six-game road trip and a physical overtime loss on Friday. Conversely, the Grizzlies did not face the same adversity in their most recent game as they got to rest most of their starters late in a blowout win over a solid Pelicans team.
No Grizzlies player logged more than 29 minutes of action on Friday night. Meanwhile Barrett, Randle and Brunson all exceeded 40 minutes in their loss to Portland. Factor in the fatigue and Brunson's potential absence, and everything is lining up for this to be a nice spot to back Memphis. Trust the Grizzlies to cover the short number as favorites on the road.