The NBA has an action-packed Friday night with an 11-game slate. We’ve hit two parlays in a row. Let’s make it 3 in a row and add a winning Banker to end the week right.
Utah Jazz vs Memphis Grizzlies
If there was any doubt to how important Rudy Gobert is to the Jazz, look at this team’s performance without him in the lineup. The Jazz are 1-6 without Gobert in the lineup. When Gobert is in the lineup, the Jazz have a defensive rating of 108.5. When Gobert is not in the lineup, the Jazz have a defensive rating of 121.1. Gobert will miss tonight’s game, which does not bode well for Utah, going against one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies
The Memphis Grizzlies have won 14 of their last 17 games. The Grizzlies are led by Ja Morant who is averaging 36 points and 8 assists over his last four games. In their most recent outing, Ja Morant scored a season high 41 points with 8 assists to lead the Grizzlies to 118–110 win over the Spurs. Ja Morant’s emergence as a superstar has turned the Grizzlies into a true contender in the Western Conference
I like Memphis here to get it done at home against a Jazz team missing the heart of their defense. The Jazz are good defensive team, but this stretch without Gobert shows how much Gobert means to their defense. Most Jazz defenders are not strong at the point of attack. Opponents usually can’t take advantage of it because Gobert’s rim protection is elite. Without Gobert in the lineup, it’s easy to take the Jazz on the perimeter and that’s where Ja Morant and the Grizzlies excel. Today’s Banker is the Memphis Grizzlies -2.
Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks
Well, the Hawks have finally decided to take the regular season seriously. After acting like they were too good to compete in the regular season like they were a grizzled championship squad, the Hawks have been humbled the hard way. After a disappointing start to the season, the GM has threatened to blow the team up. Now the Hawks are finally playing with the intensity that landed them in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.
The Boston Celtics have been playing better as well but I still don’t trust this team night in and night out. I would not be surprised to see the Celtics make a move at the deadline. I do believe the Celtics have a very talented team, but lack chemistry and togetherness, especially on the defensive end. The Hawks have won 5 in a row, and I expect it to be 6 in a row after tonight. The first half of the 2 Team Parlay is the Atlanta Hawks -2.
Detroit Pistons vs Orlando Magic
Detroit Pistons have already defeated the Orlando Magic twice this season. The Pistons will go for another win in Orlando tonight. The Pistons certainly are pleased with the development of #1 overall draft pick Cade Cunningham. Cunningham is averaging 18 point per game in the month of January. The Pistons recently welcomed Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk back to the team after both had extended injury absences. Unfortunately for the Pistons, both men are game-time decisions due to covid protocols.
The Pistons are coming off of 110-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night. Cade Cunningham scored 34 points to go with 8 rebounds and 8 assists. The Pistons hope that Cunningham puts up another big performance against a fellow team in the middle of a rebuild, the Orlando Magic.
The Magic have lost 4 of their last 5 games. The Magic are 3-18 at home this season. The Magic are 2-8 in the last 10, with a point differential -8.5 for the year.
I commend the Magic for doing a proper rebuild and not just sitting in the middle to get the 8th seed every year. This is the painful part of the rebuild. Detroit is moving closer to achieving its rebuilding goals. Of course, that’s because they received the #1 pick rather than #5 and the #8 picks. The Magic are on the right path, but it will take another season or two of losing and drafting well before this team is ready to compete. In a battle of the Eastern Conference cellar dwellers, we’ll take the Detroit Pistons on the road. The second half of our 2 Team Parlay is the Detroit Pistons +2.