The Grizzlies have been going through a rough patch in their season, losing six of their last seven games. They’ll look to get back to their winning ways tonight on the road against the Cavaliers, and we’ll preview the game before going over my best prop play for the action.
Cleveland and Memphis have very similar records this season, and over the last ten games, they have both gone 4-6. Cleveland managed to rank 11th in NET rating in that span, but their offensive efficiency rating was 17th in the league. Huge scoring performances have not come often for the Cavs, but over this recent ten-game stretch, they failed to score over 103 points in four of them.
Despite having the 6th highest field goal percentage and 3rd highest assist percentage over the past ten games, the Cavs are averaging just 109.2 points per game, which is 28th in the league. The offense has not been a strong suit of this team all season, but this is one of the first stretches of the year where we are seeing the defense not being able to bail them out.
The most points that Cleveland has allowed over their last five games is 112, yet they went 2-3 in that five-game stretch. After dropping their most recent game to the Miami Heat with a final score of 100-97, the struggling Grizzlies may be an ideal match-up for them.
Across their last five games, the Grizzlies are 1-4 and have a NET rating of -8.7, which is the 3rd worst in the league. Offense has not been an issue for them up to this point in the season, as they rank 8th in the league in points per game, but over their recent five-game stretch, Memphis was 27th in offensive efficiency rating.
With both sides struggling to score, it will likely be another defensive battle for these two teams. Cleveland does have a slight offensive edge, though, as their effective field goal percentage in the past five games is 12th in the league, while the Grizzlies is 26th.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be taking Ricky Rubio over 3.5 assists at (-105). Over the last ten games, Rubio is averaging 3.8 assists despite playing in a bench role, and he has gone over his total in three straight games. The veteran has always been a pass-first player, which is a perfect role for a Cavs team that is first in the league over the last five games in field goals made that were assisted at 74.9%.
The match-up tonight is a good one for Rubio to thrive in, as the Grizzlies have allowed the 3rd most assists per game over the past ten games, with an average of 28.3. The last time these team’s met on January 18th, the Cavs ended the game with 29 total assists, with Rubio being responsible for three of them. With the additional four minutes he’s been averaging since that game, I expect he can come up with four or more assists tonight.
Even with their scoring troubles recently, the Cavs are still shooting the ball at a high level and should be able to convert on scoring opportunities provided by Rubio. Overall I think this is a good spot and number for the backup point guard to come through for his backers.
Ricky Rubio Over 3.5 Assists (-105)