On an evening with nine games slated in the NBA, there might not be a more intriguing match up on the card than that of two 8th place teams fighting to stay in the NBA postseason picture. Winners of their last two on the road, including a Sunday road dog victory over the Houston Rockets, the Orlando Magic will attempt to make it three in a row at the FedEx Forum against the Memphis Grizzlies who will be on one extra day of rest than their opponent.
For now, the Magic are holding on to the final Eastern Conference playoff spot despite having a below .500 record, and The Grizzlies are looking to keep their four-game lead over the Pelicans for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Surprisingly, as an eight-point underdog on Sunday evening Orlando was able to easily cover the spread against a Houston Rocket team we are all scratching our heads over as of late. Meanwhile, Memphis has had two full days of rest after covering the spread as a favorite at home against the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.
In a game played back in November in Orlando, The Magic outscored the Grizzlies 34-8 in the final quarter, stifling the road team to a 3-for-23 shooting performance to end the game. Memphis was only able to muster up 86 total points in that game, their lowest total in a game this season. Big man for the Grizzlies, Jonas Valanciunas, led the way for Memphis with 15 points while Nikola Vucevic led all scorers with 23 big man points of his own. With this game in Memphis, one would have to believe a slightly different outcome is on the horizon for a battle tipping off at 7:00pm CT.
Orlando - No. 1 offensive rating in the NBA in last 11 gamesLooking back to October through December, the Orlando Magic never ranked better than 21st in the league when it came to offensive rating. However, in their last eleven contests, Orlando is averaging 118.2 points per 100 possessions ranking them No. 1 in all the NBA for offensive rating during this stretch. The production has truly been a team effort as a minimum of five players in 10 of the last 11 games have scored in double figures.
Orlando was on a brief three-game skid before defeating Minnesota and Houston on the road. Sunday’s game saw the return of Coach Clifford, who was dehydrated and suffered from dizziness during the Minnesota game on Friday. The Magic will tie a ribbon around this current road trip either way on Tuesday facing Ja Morant and the Grizzlies. Unfortunately for Orlando, they are just 3-15 all-time in Memphis. If Orlando can pull off the win they can finish this road trip 3-1 while covering the spread in their last 3 contests.
The Magic have seven players that are averaging double figures. Nikola Vucevic leads the way for all scores with 19.5 points per game, good for 25th in all of the NBA. The remaining six players in double figures are: Evan Fournier SG - (18.8), Terrence Ross SG - (14.6), Aaron Gordon PF - (14.5), Markelle Fultz PG - (12.0), Jonathan Isaac PF - (12.0), and D.J. Augustine PG - (10.3). A recent pleasant surprise has been Michael Carter-Williams who went off for 16 points (5-10 FG, 1-3 3PT, 5-6 FT, three assists, two rebounds, one steal and one block across 27 minutes to help the Magic knock off the Houston Rockets. Carter-Williams has reached double figures in the last 3 games as he is benefiting from additional minutes as Evan Fournier (elbow) is sidelined.
Grizzlies holding the 8th playoff spot ahead of the PelicansMemphis Grizzlies are winners of four out of their last five games averaging 117 points in each of the four wins. Led by rookie superstar Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have a comfortable lead on the eighth playoff spot, but they obviously know who is chasing them down (New Orleans - Pelicans). In their last game against the Atlanta Hawks, Memphis was basically in control the entire game. Not only did they lead at the end of each quarter they were leading by 26 points at one point by holding the Hawks to only 33.7% shooting for the contest.
The Grizzlies rank 14th in the league in points per game at 112.6. They rank 6th in the league in rebounds 46.8, and even rank second in the league in assists per game at 27.1. No surprise rookie phenom Ja Morant leads the team in minutes (29.9), points (17.6), and assists at (7.0). While Zion Williamson of the Pelicans has made a tremendous splash of late and can be included in the Rookie of the Year conversation, Ja Morant has absolutely shined in his first year in the league.
At the FedEx Forum, the Memphis Grizzlies are 18-14 on the season and are averaging 113.3 points per game while shooting 47.5% from the hardwood at home. Not to mention they have won 10 out of the last 13 games in Memphis. In the last 10 home wins the Grizzlies have won by an average of 11.6 points per game.
Trends Courtesy of www.donbest.com:
- Grizzlies are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 Tuesday games.
- Grizzlies are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a favorite.
- Grizzlies are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite of 0.5-4.5.
Trends Courtesy of www.donbest.com:
- Magic are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Tuesday games.