Memphis (17-8) at Cleveland (17-5)
When: Tuesday, December 13th 2016
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH
Time: 7:05 ET | TV: FSN Southeast, FSN Ohio
The Memphis Grizzlies are flying high right now and will put their six-game winning streak on the line when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first of a home-and-home with the defending champions. Memphis, who has won 13 of their last 16, dominated the Golden State Warriors from start to finish on Saturday and led by as many as 30 points before settling for a 110-89 victory. Memphis held Golden State to a season-low point total and is hanging together well despite battling injuries, including a back injury to standout point guard Mike Conley (19.2 points). Forward JaMychal Green has been a solid and is averaging 13.6 rebounds over the past five games after collecting 14 points and 10 boards against the Warriors. Green, who is averaging 9.6 points and 7.9 rebounds, has started every game this season and recorded three double-doubles in the past five games while collecting double digits on the boards in all five. Center Marc Gasol is on fire as well and is averaging 25.5 points and is 11-of-23 from 3-point range during the six-game winning streak, but is expected to sit this one out to be rested for the rematch tomorrow night.
Cleveland owns a four-game winning streak and shot a season-best 57.5% from the field during Saturday’s 116-105 win over a very good defensive team in the Charlotte Hornets. Forward LeBron James scored a season-best 44 points and had 10 assists for his ninth career game with at least 40 points and 10 assists. James reached 7,000 career assists against the Hornets to become the first frontcourt player in NBA history to reach that figure. He is also the only player in NBA history to have 27,000 points, 7,000 rebounds and 7,000 assists in a career – and he’s only 31. Point guard Kyrie Irving scored just 11 points on 4-of-13 shooting against the Hornets after scoring 20 or more in each of the previous 12 games. Cleveland owns a 15-4 mark against the Grizzlies at home, but Memphis got the better of them in the most recent matchup in March (106-103). After tomorrow’s game in Memphis, the Cavs will play the next four against teams with losing records before their Christmas Day matchup with Golden State.
I was leaning towards taking Memphis in this one, but after word came down that Gasol would sit out, I’ve changed my mind. That’s a big missing piece for a game like this, so I’m going to take Cleveland and lay the big points.
Pick: Cavaliers -13.5