The NBA’s focus may be on the Miami Heat and their seemingly unstoppable 20-game winning streak, but Friday night action features the next two hottest teams in the league as the Memphis Grizzlies travel to face the Denver Nuggets.
The Grizzlies travel to Denver with a six-game winning streak, having won 14 of their past 15 games and looking for a fifth straight road win; a streak that would be their longest road winning stretch since winning seven straight in March 2010. Meanwhile, the Nuggets have won 10 in a row and are looking for their first 11-game winning streak since 1983. Denver is a notoriously difficult place to play with George Karl’s team owning the best home record in the Western conference at 29-3.
Memphis has picked up several big wins during their current streak winning 14 out of 15, including some major road wins. Wins in Brooklyn and more recently Portland and in LA against the Clippers are a sign of a team that is playing good basketball. Mike Conley is playing arguably the best basketball of his career with terrific defense and some very high assist numbers.
The front line has also received a boost over the past two games with Zack Randolph back in the line-up. Randolph has picked up 18 rebounds and 32 points in those two games. His presence is a big help to Marc Gasol, who just continues to be a scoring machine. Gasol is averaging 14.3 points per game on the season, but he’s averaging 18.6 points per game over his last 10.
The inside match-up will be very interesting to watch. Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari are both strong presences inside and can score plenty as well. Faried really generated star status after a monster performance in the rising stars all-star game. Kosta Koufos will give Gasol some defensive competition as well.
The real problem when facing Denver right now is Ty Lawson. The point guard has really emerged as a premier scorer and combines with Andre Iguodala to form one of the more potent guard combinations in the NBA. Lawson is fast and his shooting percentages and seeming willingness to take the shot have risen dramatically. He’s averaging a pretty respectable 17.0 points per game on the season, but a more dominating 21.0 points per game during his pats 10.
Betting Preview: Denver (-5) vs. Memphis
The Grizzlies are undoubtedly the sort of team that can compete against the Nuggets, even in Denver. They’ve got good size on the inside, they are one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they are getting some of the best guard play that they’ve had all season long.
Still, the Grizzlies franchise has only three wins in 32 visits to Denver and the Nuggets just haven’t looked like dropping games at home recently. Five points definitely gives Memphis a chance especially since the previous two meetings between these teams have only been decided by that margin, but a red hot Denver team should score enough points to beat Memphis on that spread.
The Pick: Nuggets (-5) [5dimes.eu]
Writer’s season record against the spread for Sports Bet Listings: 5-2