Nets vs. Grizzlies Preview: This Spread Should Be Bigger

Action Network analyst Raheem Palmer breaks down the betting value in the NBA matchup on Wednesday night between the Brooklyn Nets and Memphis Grizzlies.

Nets vs. Grizzlies Odds

Nets Odds -2.5
Grizzlies Odds +2.5
Over/Under 235.5
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

The Brooklyn Nets have quietly been one of the league’s hottest teams, winning six of their last seven games after their 114-106 win over the Utah Jazz at home. Despite the hot streak, the Nets still find themselves in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference race, needing to win a play-in game to make the postseason.

Brooklyn now travels to take on the Memphis Grizzlies, who hold the second-best record in the Western Conference and have won six of their last seven games. The Grizzlies will be without Ja Morant for this matchup, so oddsmakers have made the Nets as 2-point road favorites.

Despite the absence of Morant, the Grizzlies haven’t skipped a beat in his absence, going 14-2 this season without their star. Will that trend continue here or will Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets keep their momentum as they look to make their playoff push?

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Nets Will Have Kyrie in Memphis

The Nets have won six of seven with a 16.3-point average margin of victory. Their only loss during this span came on a Spencer Dinwiddie buzzer-beater against the Mavericks.

A big part of their recent success has been the return of Durant, who has been playing at an MVP level for much of this season. He’s averaging 29.6 points on 52.6% shooting with 6.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game. The Nets are a whopping 10 points per 100 possessions better with Durant on the floor this season, so it’s no surprise they’re 30-15 record with him in the lineup this season.

The Nets are in the unique position of having a higher power rating on the road, where they have Irving. The star point guard is averaging 27.7 points. 5.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds while maintaining fresh legs by only playing on the road.

The Nets are 4-2 on the road since the All-Star break with the second-best Net Rating (13.4). One of those two losses came against the Raptors on March 1 when neither Durant or Irving played. The only loss with those two came against the red-hot Boston Celtics.

In comparison, the Nets are just 3-4 at home since the break, ranking 26th in Net Rating (-7.9).

With Durant and Irving on the floor, the Nets are outscoring teams by +18.3 points per 100 possessions with an Offensive Rating of 128.7 and a Defensive Rating of 110.4. Diving deeper, a lineup of those two with Bruce Brown, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond is scoring 135.0 points per 100 possessions and outscoring teams by +11.3 points per 100 possessions despite a 123.8 Defensive Rating.

Can Memphis Cope Without Morant?

The Grizzlies have also won six out of their last seven and are likely to maintain the No. 2 seed out West given Stephen Curry’s injury and the Warriors’ two-game deficit.

Since the All-Star break, the Grizzlies hold the league’s sixth-best Net Rating (7.0), which is powered by a 109.2 Defensive Rating that ranks fourth in the NBA.

The Grizzlies will be missing Morant, who has missed two out of the last three games with a knee injury. Memphis hasn’t skipped a beat in the absence of its star this season, though, going 14-2 straight-up with a 17.9 Net Rating, 117.1 Offensive Rating and 99.3 Defensive Rating.

While defense does win championships, it’s asking a lot to slow down this Nets offensive juggernaut with Durant and Irving. I’m not sure the Grizzlies are up for the task. Memphis is 15th in Defensive Rating (115.2) against teams with top-10 offenses and over the past two weeks, it’s allowing a whopping 123.2 points per 100 possessions against such teams, which ranks 20th. Dillon Brooks’ return should help slow down Irving a bit.

The Grizzlies are just 23rd in half-court points per 100 possessions (92.5). For a team that generates much of its offense in transition, those opportunities might not be available if it can’t get defensive stops. The Nets are subpar defensively, so you can’t rule out the Grizzlies having a decent offensive output.

Desmond Bane is the team’s second leading scorer at 17.9 points per game on 45.5% shooting and should come up big in this matchup. However, the Grizzlies will need more than just a big game from him to keep pace with the Nets.

Nets-Grizzlies Pick

I’m throwing my personal numbers out for this one. My post All-Star-break model makes the Grizzlies 2.3-point favorites, but that incorporates Morant, as both home and road games for the Nets, who haven’t had Irving at home.

When you remove Morant and factor in both Durant and Irving, it’s clear the Nets should be significant favorites in this game. It’s no surprise that the Nets opened as 3-point favorites before this was bet down to 2. Still, I think this number is short.

Given the Grizzlies’ struggles to score in the half-court, it’s tough to imagine them keeping pace with a Nets team that’s desperate to avoid the play-in tournament. I’ll lay the points with Brooklyn here.

Pick: Nets -2.5