Memphis faithful have had a rough go over the last 48 hours and now must watch their team try and contain Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. Our NBA betting picks are expecting this matchup to be a blowout for the Clippers.
Largely through their own actions, the Memphis Grizzlies will be shorthanded tonight against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As the Western Conference finds its form — namely the Suns with Kevin Durant, the Warriors getting Steph Curry back healthy, and the Mavericks incorporating Kyrie Irving — the Grizzlies may not have as much of a cushion to hold onto the No. 2 spot as they did just six weeks ago.
Here are our free NBA picks and predictions for the Grizzlies vs the Clippers on March 5, with tip set for 10:00 ET.
Grizzlies vs Clippers best odds
Grizzlies vs Clippers picks and predictions
The Grizzlies will be without Ja Morant for at least two games following the star point guard’s social media video on Friday night flaunting a firearm. The issues at hand in Morant’s situation require far more of an in-depth discussion than this handicap can offer, so let’s just stick to the clear fact: Memphis will not have Morant on the court against the Clippers tonight.
It will also not have shooting guard Dillon Brooks, suspended due to his sheer mass of technical fouls this season, or power forward Brandon Clarke, out injured for the rest of the year. Oh, and Steven Adams remains sidelined by injury.
It’s not like Memphis has been playing well of late. Going 7-11 since Jan. 19 has dropped the Grizzlies from half a game behind the Nuggets for first in the West and 6.5 up on the Kings for third.
Now, Memphis is six back of Denver and a tenuous 1.5 games up on Sacramento. A slight skid could suddenly put the Suns and Warriors in striking distance of the Grizzlies, costing them homecourt advantage in the first round.
Now they face Kawhi Leonard and Paul George without their own star. It is hard to envision Memphis rallying together for some uplifting upset. As great as the Grizzlies were without Morant a year ago — going 20-5 without Morant in repeated testaments to Tyus Jones’ steadying on-court leadership — they no longer have that charm.
A growing lack of depth is costing Memphis in those moments. Since the All-Star break, only nine Grizzlies have averaged more than 15 minutes per game. That includes power forward Brandon Clarke, whose average fell below 15 minutes per game when his Achilles injury sidelined him after just two minutes of action. Of those nine, three will now not play tonight.
Of those remaining six players that Memphis regularly relies upon, one is second-year power forward Santi Aldama as he averages 5.4 points in 19.5 minutes in five games since the All-Star break. Another is Luke Kennard, acquired at the trade deadline and needing others to set him up for a pair of threes per game.
Only Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. have usage rates above 20%, while even Tyus Jones’ legendary assist-to-turnover ratio has fallen off in his last two games without Morant — a pedestrian 15-to-5.
Without four regulars, without the depth of years past, the Grizzlies just do not have enough NBA-quality players to match up against Los Angeles tonight.
If the seventh player in the rotation tonight is going to be third-year shooting guard John Konchar out of Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, how much of a matchup will that be when the Clippers’ roster consists of Bones Hyland or Eric Gordon, or Terrance Mann?
Games turn lopsided not when the top of the rotation is superior to its opponent, as Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be tonight compared to Bane and Jackson, but when the reserves can also rout their overmatched opponent. Hyland, Gordon, Mann, Mason Plumlee, and Marcus Morris Sr. will not set out to embarrass Aldama, Kennard, and Konchar, but they very much should.
That will add value to spreads beyond the Clippers being favored by seven points. A stout nine-man rotation against a scuffling seven-man squad, one with plenty of distractions in the last 48 hours, should lead to a bit more of a blowout and thus a better payday here.
My best bet: Clippers -11.5 (+172 at FanDuel)
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Grizzlies vs Clippers spread analysis
In nine games without Morant this season, the Grizzlies have gone 2-7 against the spread. One of those seven losses was a 33-point debacle of a defeat at Sacramento in mid-January. Excluding that outlier, the other six ATS losses have come by an average of 4.4 points.
If thinking that edge may have been baked into the spread tonight, movement does not agree. Once Morant was ruled out, this spread opened with Los Angeles favored by 6.5. It spent some of Sunday morning at -7.5 before settling at -7.0.
On a five-game losing streak, the Clippers may need this win more than the Grizzlies, and they certainly have fewer excuses to cite if they lose. Entering the All-Star Break, Los Angeles sat at No. 4 in the West, two full games clear of the play-in. Now they are at No. 8, a full game short of escaping the single-elimination stressor.
Grizzlies vs Clippers Over/Under analysis
This total opened at 227.5 once the Morant news broke, dabbling at some books at 228.0. Memphis has hit the Under in five of its last six games, the exception being a push. Without Morant this season, the Grizzlies have hit the Over in five of nine games.
With the amount of firepower each team possesses, you would assume these teams see a lot of high totals, but both sides have been quite profitable toward the Under so far this year.
On the season, both Memphis and Los Angeles are trending toward the Under about 55% of the time. More distinctly, the Grizzlies have gone Under the pregame total in 19 of 31 road games this season, while — and this is not a typo — the Clippers have gone Under the pregame total in 22 of their 30 home games this year, and one of those eight exceptions was a push.
Grizzlies vs Clippers betting trend to know
The Grizzlies are 2-7 ATS in nine games without Ja Morant this season and 4-5 straight up. Find more NBA betting trends for Grizzlies vs. Clippers.
Grizzlies vs Clippers game info
|Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
|Sunday, March 5, 2023
|10:00 p.m. ET