August 11: Boston Celtics versus Memphis Grizzlies
The Celtics enter play on a three-game winning streak and the 3rd best record in the Eastern Conference at 47-23. Memphis is coming off a loss and has a 33-38 overall record, 8th in the Western Conference.
The Celtics have won the last eight games between the teams, including 119-95 on January 22 of this year. Boston is a 5 ½ point favorite with an over/under of 224 ½.
Comparing the teams statistically, the Celtics have the edge in nearly every major statistical category. Offensive, the Celtics are 9th in scoring at 113.9 points per game and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc.
Memphis is 13th in scoring at 112.6 points per game and hit just under 35 percent from 3pt range.
Both teams are in the top ten in rebounding, but the Celtics have a large edge in the fewest points allowed (107.5 to 113.7) and turnovers (13.1 to 14.7).
Boston has one of the most potent scoring trios in the NBA. Jayson Tatum leads the way averaging 23.4 points per game, but Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker each average over 20 per game.
Gordon Haywards contributes to the mix, dropping 17.5 per night and all four of those players are 3pt threats, hitting nearly 40 percent. Marcus Smart (13 points per game) and Enes Kanter (7.5 rebounds per game) add to Boston’s depth.
Memphis has a balanced attack, but nearly are dynamic at Boston’s. Ja Morant paces the Grizzlies at 17.8 points per game, followed by Jarren Jackson and Dillon Brooks, combining for nearly 34 per game.
Boston could have issues with Jonas Valanciunas on the boards, while Grayson Allen provides a three-point threat, hitting nearly 42 percent from long range.
With Memphis losing their last game, that guarantees a play-in game for a playoff berth. They will have incentive to be playing their best ball entering the competition but will have their difficulties against the Celtics.
While the Grizzlies can keep it close for some time, Boston’s firepower will overtake them in the end. The Celtics are averaging 130 points per game over the last three, so Im taking the “over” and for the Celtics to cover the spread.