PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (28-31)
at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (39-19)
Tip-off: Wednesday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Memphis -6.5, Total: 185
Both the Grizzlies and the Trail Blazers will be looking to build off of recent wins when the two meet up in Memphis on Wednesday night.
Portland is coming off of home blowout victories over the Timberwolves (by 15) and Bobcats (by 17), giving the team five straight ATS wins. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies just beat up on the Magic in Orlando, 108-82 for their ninth win in the past 10 games (7-3 ATS). Both teams are feeling confident, but the Grizzlies will most likely be without star PF Zach Randolph (ankle). Over the past three seasons, Portland is 5-1-1 ATS versus Memphis, and is also 19-12 SU (20-10-1 ATS) on the road in this series since 1996. This includes when the teams most recently met on Jan. 4, when the Blazers beat the Grizzlies in Memphis, 86-84.
Can the Grizzlies cover the big number here? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Both StatFox Gary -- who is 7-0 ATS in March and 83% ATS (15-3) since Feb. 20 -- and StatFox Scott (30-16 ATS, 65% since Feb. 3) have been on fire in NBA Best Bets. Scott is now 57% ATS (100-77-1) for the season, while Gary is 54% ATS (78-67-4). StatFox Brian is also heating up with a 78% ATS (7-2) mark in his past six days, and a 60% ATS record (15-10) since the All-Star break. Since February began, the experts are a collective 59% ATS (110-77), including 63% ATS (17-10) in March. For NBA Totals, Scott is catching fire with a 9-3-1 (75%) mark since Feb. 22 to raise his season record to 57% (85-64-1) in Totals.
Portland won three of four games on its recent homestand, scoring at least 109 points in the past three contests, including a 122-point effort against the Bobcats. In that win over Charlotte, PF LaMarcus Aldridge had 23 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and three blocks. He is averaging 18.6 PPG and 7.4 RPG over the past five games. Portland also got a strong game out of its star rookie PG Damian Lillard. He burned Charlotte for 20 points, seven assists and two steals. The biggest surprise for the Blazers over the last couple of games has been the contributions they have been getting from their other rookie, C Meyers Leonard. Leonard had 15 points and six rebounds against the Bobcats, and over the past five games is averaging 9.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG on 68% FG.
After the Heat ended the Grizzlies’ win streak, Memphis got right back into the win column with a successful trip to Orlando. In that game, Tayshaun Prince scored a team-high 14 points in 28 minutes while also playing very good defense (+19 rating). PG Mike Conley (5.9 APG) had only four assists in the game, but it was okay because C Marc Gasol was playing the role of facilitator for Memphis. Gasol (3.9 APG this season) ended that game with 11 assists to go along with his efficient 12 points and outstanding +31 rating. The Grizzlies won this game without PF Zach Randolph (15.7 PPG, 11.6 RPG) and seven players finished with double digits. The one problem is that the Blazers are way more talented than the Magic. Portland has won two games in a row and without a healthy Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies bench will need to contribute in ways they did this past week. Against Orlando, the bench featured six players that scored at least five points, combining for 49 points on 20-of-39 FG.