The NBA is back and we are now in that brief period on the sports calendar when all four major sports are playing at the same time. Most of the league plays Wednesday, including the Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers, who square off in Memphis. The Grizzlies finished last season at 38-34, making the playoffs as the 8th seed. They lost in the first round of the playoffs. The Cavs had another forgettable season, finishing 22-50 and out of the playoffs. In the opener, the Grizzlies are favored by 7.5 points and the over-under is set at 217.
Hope springs eternal for CavsIt was another lost season for the Cleveland Cavaliers last year as they finished well out of playoff contention at 22-50. But its another year and everyone starts out with the same record and a lot of hope. Can the Cavs finally start to lift themselves out of the post-LeBron rebuilding process? The Cavs will try to improve with a combination of good and young players and exciting newcomers. Lets take a look at the 2021-22 Cavs.
The backcourt will be anchored by their top two scorers, Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Sexton averaged 24.3 points per game last season while Garland averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 assists per game. Jarrett Allen is back at center. He averaged 13.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game and he'll be joined on the front line by second year player Isaac Okoro, who had a solid rookie year averaging 9.6 points per game. The power forward spot will be held down by rookie Evan Mobley, the smooth 7-footer out of USC. Big things are expected from Mobley, who looked good in the preseason.
The bench is also pretty strong with veteran Kevin Love coming off the bench, along with Lauri Markkanen, the stretch 4 who came over from the Bulls. Veteran point guard Ricky Rubio will add some depth and experience to the backcourt, and Cedi Osman, who averaged 10.4 points per game last year gives them some scoring punch off the bench.
Building on last year's successThe Memphis Grizzlies had a good year last season in the difficult Western Conference. They finished the regular season at 38-34 and placed 8th in the conference. Due to the new expanded format, the Grizzlies had a one game play-in with the Warriors and won it to move on to a first round match up with the top seed Utah Jazz. The Grizzlies fell to the favored Jazz 4 games to 1, but all in all, a successful season.
The Grizzlies team from last year is largely intact this year, except for one major change, which I'll explain later. This year's Grizzlies will be led, once again, by Ja Morant. The former Rookie of the Year averaged 19.1 points and 7.4 assists per game. He'll be joined in the backcourt by Dillon Brooks, the team's second leading score a year ago, averaging 17.2 points per game. Kyler Anderson, who played the 3 last year, is back. He averaged 12.4 points per game last year. Also, Jaren Jackson is back. Jackson was hurt for much of last season, but averaged 14.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.
The big change is the addition of center Steven Adams, who was swapped for Jonas Valanciunas in a trade with the Pelicans. Valanciunas was the third leading scorer with 17.1 points per game and leading rebounder, with 12.5 rebounds per game. Adams does not have the offensive scoring punch of Valanciunas but adds some strong defense to a defensive-minded team. Brandon Clarke, Desmond Bane, and DeʻAnthony Melton will be the Grizzlies key reserves.
- Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
- Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Wednesday games.
- Grizzlies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Grizzlies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite.
- Grizzlies are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.
- Cavaliers are 21-7 ATS in the last 28 meetings.
- Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings in Memphis.
- Cavaliers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Wednesday games.