The Memphis Grizzlies season has been filled with adversity, which remains the case after Ja Morant’s tough fall led to a hand injury that will likely keep him out of the lineup tonight. Memphis will now have to rally together tonight in order to avoid a 2-0 deficit heading back to LA. We’ll preview the game before going over my best prop pick for the action.
Multiple times throughout the NBA regular season, it looked like the Lakers would not be a playoff team, but now one game into their series against the Grizzlies, they are listed at (-300) to win the series on FanDuel. This certainly has a lot to do with the Ja Morant injury, but the Lakers did put together an impressive performance in game one of the series by scoring 128 points and putting up a NET rating for the game of (17.1).
Los Angeles got a massive boost from Rui Hachimura in game one as he scored 29 points while knocking down five threes and pulling in six rebounds as well. The contributions from guys like Hachimura and Austin Reaves take a lot of the pressure off Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who both finished with double-doubles in game one.
It’s not possible to give the same recognition to the Memphis depth as their bench struggled in game one. Jaren Jackson Jr. just won Defensive Player of the Year, but he still needs help guarding guys like Anthony Davis, and he did not get it from Xavier Tillman or the Memphis bench. This hurt the team in other ways as well, especially with rebounding, as Memphis was outrebounded 45 to 34 in the game despite having a slightly better rebounding percentage than LA during the regular season.
The Grizzlies' depth will be tested tonight, with Ja Morant likely not in the lineup. Tyus Jones is more than capable of filling in as a starting point guard, but guys like Desmond Bane and Dillon Brooks will need to up their scoring output. I doubt either of them will mind the task, but it may be tough to get the job done while getting more attention from a Lakers defense that was 12th in defensive rating during the regular season.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Austin Reaves to go over his three-point total of 1.5, which is currently priced at (-105). Reaves proclaimed, “I’m Him,” after his 23-point performance in game one, and he’s given no examples of why we should dispute that claim. The young guard went 3 for 5 from deep in game one, and he is averaging two per game over his last ten games.
Memphis was 26th in three-pointers allowed per game during the regular season, and in game one, they allowed LA to shoot 43% on 37 attempts. If Anthony Davis draws more double teams tonight, I like Reaves to reap the benefits of some inside-out passes while he is spotting up. We also saw LeBron James let Reaves play his game while he had momentum, which is a good sign for tonight as well.
Reaves is shooting 48.8% from three over his last ten games and shot 61.5% from the field in game one, so I don’t expect LA to ignore the hot hand tonight. Historically Reaves has played well against Memphis in his career as well, averaging 13.5 points per game and shooting 46.2% from three against them.
Austin Reaves Over 1.5 Three Pointers Made (-105)