LOS ANGELES LAKERS (35-16)
at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (27-25)
Tip-off: Monday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: -3.5, Total: 195
Pau Gasol may have gotten the Lakers going just in time for his homecoming.
The big man, who was traded from Memphis to L.A. in February 2008, scored a season-high 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting and added 10 rebounds in a win at New Orleans on Saturday. Kobe Bryant added 32 points in that game, and center Andrew Bynum handled a full workload (12 points and 7 boards in 28 minutes) for a second straight contest. The 101-95 win was one of their more impressive victories of the season. The Lakers were just the sixth team in 24 non-overtime games to top 100 points in New Orleans this season. Considering Bryant’s recent success at the FedEx Forum (32.1 PPG, 50.9% shooting from the field over the past six seasons), the good times could keep rolling for Los Angeles. Basketball scores.
The Grizzlies have gotten the better of the Lakers in their past two meetings though. On November 30, they held off a late Lakers rally, as Rudy Gay blocked Ron Artest’s desperation three as time expired, to beat L.A. 98-96 in Memphis. The January 2 re-match in L.A. was all Grizzlies, as Gay’s 27 led a balanced scoring attack in a 104-85 victory. The Grizzlies are 4-1 ATS at home against the Lakers over the past three seasons. Basketball odds.
Memphis will continue to play without sixth man O.J. Mayo, who is suspended after testing positive for a banned drug. He scored in double-digits in each of their wins over the Lakers. However, the loss of Mayo has shown signs of being addition by subtraction. Before losing at Houston on Saturday, the Grizzlies had won five straight since Mayo’s suspension. They’re 6-1 (SU and ATS) in games that Mayo has sat out this season.
Considering its recent success against the Lakers, and strong play of late, I’m taking Memphis as a home underdog. Many trends from the FoxSheets point the same way, including:
Play On – Underdogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points (MEMPHIS) – hot team – having won 6 or 7 of their last 8 games, with a winning percentage of between 45-55% on the season. (71-37 over the last 5 seasons, 65.7%, +30.3 units. Rating = 2*). Basketball spreads.