We have an exciting battle between two rising young teams in their respective conferences as the Cleveland Cavaliers battle it out against the Memphis Grizzlies. It potentially loses some of its polish as Donovan Mitchell is downgraded to Doubtful, but this will be an exciting one nonetheless as the Cavs are well equipped to replace his production. Can the Cavaliers get the upset and continue their climb up the Eastern standings?
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Memphis Grizzlies Betting Odds
Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Cavs as a +6 underdog. In light of Mitchell’s injury news, as well as backing the red-hot Grizzlies, bettors have faded the Cavs spread chances by taking Memphis up to as high as -7.5. They benefit from being home as well as getting a hobbled Cavs team, yet this number may still be an overreaction. The Cavs will look to shift their identity by attacking the interior more often, giving them potentially higher quality looks.
Speaking of higher quality looks, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a moderate pace by opening the total at 223.5. Bettors believe points will be scored at a much faster pace from both ends, taking the over up to 227.5 as of writing. This is heavily predicated on the Cavs ability to score without star player Donovan Mitchell, a feat I believe they can pull off with elite facilitation from Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio. Should they be able to open up the court, then the Cavs will benefit from open looks at the rim to keep within scoring pace of the Grizzlies.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Memphis Grizzlies Prediction
The Pick: Pass for now, monitor Cavs ball movement early on
While I still like the Cavaliers chances to keep this interesting without star guard Donovan Mitchell, I will pass on the pregame number as I want to see how their offense moves under a new identity. Their scoring production will be spread throughout their secondary scorers, meaning that their facilitation will be more vital than ever in order to create high quality scoring opportunities.
Darius Garland and Ricky Rubio will be carrying the brunt of facilitating production in Mitchell’s absence, a feat they are both capable of doing. Garland’s usage will spike in the starting role while Rubio will have the torch passed to him in bench minutes. This gives elite facilitation throughout the duration of the game, giving the Cavaliers a consistent puncher’s chance to stay within the number against a deep Memphis unit.
The Memphis defense is the best in the league, ranking first in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per TeamRankings. Especially in the interior, specializing in causing Havoc on dribble drives and altering shots at the rim for low quality opportunities. The Cavs ability to alter their defense and shift them to create gaps will be the key metric to watch. Should Garland find success in kick outs for open looks, the Cavs can capitalize on them and keep within scoring pace.
- Cavaliers are 21-9 ATS in the last 30 meetings
- Under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings in Memphis
- Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Memphis
Can the Cavaliers defense slow down the Grizzlies interior onslaught?
Memphis guards vs Cavaliers interior defense
Like the Grizzlies, the Cavaliers are one of the best defensive units in the NBA with a second ranked Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. They excel at interior post production, limiting high quality looks at the rim for minimal scoring opportunities with Evan Mobley and Jarret Allen altering shots.
They also excel at smothering three point looks at an above average rate, rounding out as a complete defensive unit. It will be interesting to see how they counteract the balanced Grizzlies attack with Ja cutting to the rim or Desmond Bane shooting from deep.
Rest assured for a potential live Cavs ticket, they are well equipped to slow down the Grizzlies offensive attack and give their own offense opportunities to stay within the number.
This is a pass for me on the pregame line as I will want to monitor how the Cavs find offensive success early on without Donovan Mitchell.
Cleveland Cavaliers Starting Lineup
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineups
Cleveland Cavaliers Injuries: Donovan Mitchell (D), Dean Wade (O), Dylan Windler (O)
Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: N/A