BROOKLYN NETS (26-16)
at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (27-14)
Tip-off: Friday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Memphis -4, Total: 178
The red-hot Nets head south on Friday night for a matchup with the defensive-minded Grizzlies.
Brooklyn is 12-2 SU (8-5-1 ATS) since P.J. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson as the head coach. This includes three straight victories where all three of its opponents have failed to reach 90 points. Memphis also knows how to play defense, allowing just 89.5 PPG this season (2nd in NBA). The Grizzlies have been even more stifling in the past four games (3-1 SU and ATS), holding opponents to 81.5 PPG on 40% FG. The Grizzlies won the last meeting between these teams last February, 105-100, but the Nets prevailed in their last trip to Memphis in December 2010, winning 101-94.
Can the surging Nets stun the Grizzlies in Memphis? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. StatFox Scott is 5-3-1 ATS (63%) in his past six days to boost his season Best Bets mark to 53% ATS (60-54-1). StatFox Brian is at 51% ATS (65-63-3) while StatFox Gary is also winning 51% ATS (52-50-4) for the season. StatFox Dave is 8-4-1 ATS (67%) since Nov. 24 when he mentions the word "hammer" in his analysis, including 6-4 ATS (60%) when he uses the term "Hammertime." The four experts are collectively 50% ATS on Best Bets for the season. For NBA Totals, Scott is 9-5 (64%) since Jan. 15, boosting his impressive season NBA Totals record to 62-45 (58%).
The Nets have been a solid road team this year at 10-9 (SU and ATS) and have begun this current four-game swing with victories at New York and Minnesota. Brooklyn is also 9-1 SU with a starting lineup of C Brook Lopez, PF Reggie Evans, SF Gerald Wallace, SG Joe Johnson and PG Deron Williams. All five players have been surging lately. Lopez has 20.0 PPG (58% FG) and 8.4 RPG in his past five games, while Evans has grabbed 11.3 RPG over the past nine contests. Wallace hasnít shot very well this year (9.3 PPG on 42% FG), but has played great defense, as evidenced by a +90 rating (+8.2 per game) over the past 11 contests. Both Williams and Johnson scored 18 points in Wednesday's win over Minnesota. Williams has tallied at least 12 points in every game in January, averaging 18.7 PPG and 8.5 APG this month. He has also dominated the Grizzlies in the previous 14 meetings with 18.7 PPG (47% FG) and 11.8 APG. Johnson has netted at least 15 points in all 11 January games, averaging 19.7 PPG (44% threes), 3.5 APG and 3.5 RPG.
The Grizzlies are 16-6 SU (13-7 ATS) at home this season, outscoring these visitors 92.4 PPG to 87.0 PPG, but both Memphis and its opponents are making just 42.7% of their shots at FedEx Forum. SF Rudy Gay (41.0% FG) and PG Mike Conley (42.2% FG) have been the biggest reasons the team's shooting percentage is so low. But even though Gay has made just 30.8% FG in the past three games, he's been able to grab 9.0 RPG during this stretch, significantly higher than the 6.0 RPG he averages this season. Conley drained 9-of-14 shots in Wednesday's win over the Lakers, and remains one of the best on-ball defenders in the league, averaging 2.35 SPG (2nd in NBA). Memphis likes to work the ball inside to its big men duo of PF Zach Randolph and C Marc Gasol. Randolph has not scored 20 points in a game since Jan. 6, but he does have 12.0 RPG over the past three contests. Gasol hasnít scored 20 points in a game since Dec. 1, and has attempted just 11 shots (6-for-11) in the past two contests combined.