First off, I just want to say I love writing about real sports. It’s the best. While the rest of the TMZ sports media are writing about guy on a bicycle or a college football player’s imaginary girlfriend, we get to talk about actual, real-life competition and sports… I promise unless Bovada releases a wagering line on the Manti T’eo’s girlfriend/hoaxers possible identity, I will continue to talk about good ol’ basketball only…
That said, it’s probably time people laid off Lebron and the whole “he’s not a closer” talk. Last night he out “mamba-ed” the Black Mamba in Los Angeles, taking over the final two minutes of the game on both ends of the court and helping hold the Lakers scoreless in the final 2:12 to turn a tied game into a nine-point road win. The win was their second road win in back to back nights, both over quality west coast teams nonetheless, and it appears (at least on the surface) that the Heat have their mojo back and have put the Wade-Bosh benching fiasco in the rear view mirror.
There is another top-tier team looking to put a disconcerting losing streak in the rear-view mirror tonight in Memphis, and that’s where we will focus tonight’s free pick.
Sacramento Kings at Memphis Grizzlies -9.5 (Total: 191)
The Grizzlies have lost three straight games and have been emasculated in the process. They have dropped the three game by a combined 64 points and have opened the trade speculation doors wide open. However, it is important to consider WHO they have lost to: at Dallas, Oklahoma City, and at San Antonio. Those are three games most NBA teams lose, even very good ones. The Grizzlies are still flush with talent and still enter tonight in 4th place in the Western Conference with a 24-13 record.
I know I took the Grizz to task a few days, saying the West was a three team race. And it is. But that doesn’t mean Memphis “sucks”; it simply means they are not quite on par with OKC, San Antonio and the Clippers. That’s not the worst indictment in the world.
The Grizzlies are a robust 14-5 at home. Meanwhile the Kings are a pitiful 3-14 on the road. That’s a pretty good recipe for Memphis to snap their longest losing skid of the season tonight. These two teams played two weeks ago in Sacramento (an oddly tough place to play) and Memphis won 113-81 in clear-the-bench-early fashion. I imagine they will put out a similarly strong effort tonight and will be well focused after a humiliating week.
One word of advice – I’d wait to get my wager down on Memphis until later in the day. Zach Randolph is listed as “questionable” for tonight’s game. I am making my pick assuming he does NOT play – I still like Memphis tonight. IF he is scratched, this line could well tighten up for a few points, giving you an even better value. Either way, I’d be surprised if it widens past 9.5 or 10 no matter what. Just my humble opinion.
I like Memphis to vent some frustration on the road-weary young Kings tonight and to get back on track.
Free Pick: Memphis Grizzlies -9.5