Can Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies get an essential win on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans after starting the season with an abysmal 6-19 record? Take a look at our Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans predictions, preview, betting picks, and analysis below!
Memphis Grizzlies Vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction
If you asked 100 Grizzlies fans what they thought the team’s record would be leading into Ja Morant’s return to the lineup, we’d wager that none of them would have guessed a 6-19 record. Memphis has struggled in the absence of Morant, as well as Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke. Even Xavier Tillman, Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard, Marcus Smart, and Jake LaRavia have missed substantial time this season, too.
Still, Morant’s return marks a key moment for the Grizz this season: they finally have their core trio (Morant, Bane, and Jackson Jr.) back together for the first time in a long time. Will that be enough to lead Memphis to a road win against a stacked New Orleans Pelicans team, or will depth still be a big enough issue that it keeps them out of the win column once again?
This is a tricky betting position since Zion Williamson is suddenly listed as questionable due to an illness. Zion’s importance to this team cannot be understated, even though it seems that most people are most interested in discussing his shape and weight. With Williamson playing this season, the Pels are 14-8 and have a net rating of +2.6, but they have struggled without him, as they hold just a 2-3 record.
If Williamson can’t play, then the Grizzlies +7 are a solid play, as they will be motivated with Morant back in the lineup. Morant alone will catapult this offensive attack substantially, and although depth will be an issue until players like Marcus Smart and Luke Kennard return, they should stay within striking distance.
Further, Memphis could match up well with a Zion-less Pels team: Tillman can guard Valanciunas, Williams Jr. can defend Ingram, Morant can cross-defend Herb Jones, and Bane can use his physicality to try and deter McCollum from doing much beyond shooting contested shots.
Williamson’ absense would also allow Jaren Jackson Jr. to roam freer in the paint, forcing a team that relies heavily on paint points (ninth in PITP) to score more from the outside (18th in 3P%.) Back the Grizz with the points as long as Zion doesn’t play.
Memphis Grizzlies Vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction: Grizzlies +7
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Memphis Grizzlies Vs. New Orleans Pelicans Best Odds
The Memphis Grizzlies are seven-point road underdogs on Tuesday night against New Orleans. The Pelicans have Moneyline odds of -278 to take care of business at home, while Memphis has odds of +225 to steal a seemingly vital road win. The point total rests at 228.5 points, with the Over and Under holding -110 odds.
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineup
New Orleans Pelicans Starting Lineup
Memphis Grizzlies Vs. New Orleans Pelicans Injuries
As has become usual this season, the Memphis Grizzlies will miss a handful of important players for tonight’s game against New Orleans, including Steven Adams (knee), Brandon Clarke (Achilles), Luke Kennard (knee), Marcus Smart (ankle), Derrick Rose (hamstring), and Bismack Biyombo (back.) Luckily, Ja Morant will be playing in his first game back since his suspension, giving the Grizzlies a much-needed backcourt lift.
New Orleans has been in a similar situation in the past few years, dealing with several injuries to key players. However, for this game, the Pels will only be without Matt Ryan (elbow) and Larry Nance Jr. (rib.) Zion Williamson will likely be a game-time decision due to an illness, so keep an eye on that over the next few hours.