Nets vs. Grizzlies Odds & Picks: Back Brooklyn’s Role Players to Stay Hot (Friday, Jan. 8)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Jarrett Allen #31 of the Brooklyn Nets.
- The Nets are down their two stars again and hot the road to face the Grizzlies.
- Can Brooklyn cover the short spread on a back-to-back?
- Kenny Ducey previews the matchup, including how he plans to bet this game below:
Nets vs. Grizzlies Odds
|Nets Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Grizzlies Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-139 / +115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||217.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Brooklyn Nets proved why they’re the deepest team in basketball Thursday night, taking down the red-hot Philadelphia 76ers despite the absences of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Without their two superstars once again on Friday, the Nets will meet the Memphis Grizzlies on a back-to-back — something they just did two weeks ago — and try for their third-straight victory against a tired, offensively-inept Grizzlies team.
Things didn’t go so well for the Nets in the first meeting between the two teams, but is there value in Brooklyn this time around given Memphis’ recent offensive struggles? Let’s dig into the matchup and see.
The Nets are still without Durant until at least Saturday, and now they’re down likely down Irving, too, after the star guard missed Thursday’s win due to personal reasons and didn’t fly to Memphis with the rest of the team.
That means it’s up to Brooklyn’s bench to get it done once again, this time against a much weaker opponent. While the Grizzlies’ defense doesn’t offer a ton to exploit, ranking right around the middle of the league with a Defensive Rating of 109, the Nets should be able to feast on defense.
That’s right, the defense!
It’s not the first thing that would come to mind on a team which features Irving so heavily, but the Nets have quietly reigned in their defense after allowing a whopping 141 points to the Hawks a few games ago.
On Tuesday, they held the Jazz to just 96 points in a win, and on Thursday they yielded just 109 to the 7-1 Sixers. After the win, the Nets are now holding opponents to a league-best 42.7% from the field, per NBA Advanced Stats.
What’s been even better than the defense Brooklyn has played is how it has driven the offense, which is particularly important when its stars are out. Brooklyn scored a season-high 27 points off 15 Jazz turnovers in Tuesday’s win, and turned right around on Thursday and set a brand new season high with 35 points off 20 Sixers turnovers.
The Grizzlies are scoring an unsightly 103.9 points per 100 possessions, better than only the Cavs and Thunder, and shooting 32.6% from 3. Down Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson, Jr., this team is searching for answers on the offensive end, providing another spot for the Nets defense to shine.
Offensively, Caris LeVert is the guy without Durant and Irving, for better or worse. His Usage Rate is 38.9 when those two are both off the floor, a team high by a big margin, yet his Offensive Rating is a tick below 100. He had some sparkling moments on Friday, but when it was all said and done he shot just 9-25 from the field and missed all five 3s he attempted.
It’s been an extremely slow start for him, scoring just over 14 per game, but things could easily turn around against a Memphis team which is allowing 23.7 points per game to opposing point guards, which ranks just outside the top 10 in the league. LeVert did have 28 against this team in their last meeting.
Things went from bad to worse for Memphis on Thursday, losing what was a game they really should have won, especially closing as six-point favorites, to a Cavaliers team down basically their whole team. There was no Collin Sexton, no Darius Garland, and still no Kevin Love, yet somehow this Grizzlies offense couldn’t score enough to come away with the win.
What was even more stunning was that Cleveland ran all its starters out for 35+ minutes, rolling with essentially no bench, meaning that Memphis was unable to score on tired legs down the stretch. Tyus Jones had two bad turnovers late, Dillon Brooks contributed four himself and hit just two of seven threes.
Jonas Valanciunas and Gorgui Dieng struggled to contain Andre Drummond, who went put up 22 points and 15 rebounds, and the matchup against Jarrett Allen won’t be much easier. Brooklyn ranks eighth in Rebounding Rate this season, while Memphis is allowing rebounds at the eighth-worst rate in the league. Considering Allen is essentially the Nets’ most reliable source of offense, Memphis is faced with a tall task here trying to keep pace with Brooklyn.
Another weakness for the Grizzlies this season has been their defense against shooting guards, which rates as the second-worst in basketball. Brooks plays a boatload of minutes out of necessity because Memphis needs scoring, but he holds a career Defensive Rating of 113. Brooklyn has a seemingly endless rotation of shooting guards, which could be a problem for Memphis.
Even without their three best players on Thursday, the Nets were still able to hold one of the better offenses in the league at bay while their big man did work against Joel Embiid, and Joe Harris lit up one of the better defenses in the league.
Memphis has completely lost its way on offense without Morant, and even against a middling defense I’d still have doubts about the Grizzlies’ ability to keep pace with a high-functioning offense like the one Brooklyn has.
The Nets did lose to the Grizzlies on Dec. 28 in overtime — a game that was also played without Durant and Irving — but these teams are in a different spot now.
Morant suffered a sprained ankle in that game, which will keep him out a few more weeks, so the Grizzlies had not really been pressed yet as to how they were going to make up for the production they lose with their prized young point guard.
It was also a game in which DeAndre Jordan inexplicably got 30 minutes to Jarrett Allen’s 22, something that will not happen again. Allen should see 28-plus minutes as he did on Thursday (he’s projected at 28.5) and that should be a big issue for Memphis.
Ultimately, there’s no reason to believe the Nets’ defense will crack at the hands of one of the league’s least efficient offenses, and there’s a very high probability that Memphis gets dominated on the glass and on the wing.
Look for the Grizzlies to stay discombobulated on offense and for the Nets’ bench to pick up where they left off after scoring 53 on Thursday. This game opened at -4.5 and is down to -2.5 at most books, but I’d bet it up to -6.
Pick: Nets -2.5 (-110)