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Jonathan Macri makes his two favorite picks from Monday's slate of NBA games.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Miami Heat Prediction: Ride The Hot Grizzlies

Memphis Grizzlies vs Miami heat Prediction

Grizzlies vs Heat Odds

As you know from the year-long celebration that’s been going on, this is the 75th year the NBA has been playing games. In all that time, no team has ever won a game by as many points as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder by on Thursday night.

152-79. The score looked like a misprint. As we’ll get to in a bit, this was more about OKC’s futility than Memphis being a dominant team, but it also spoke to the Grizzlies turning a corner this season. The craziest part? It’s all come without their budding superstar, Ja Morant.

When Morant left the November 26 game against the Hawks with what looked like a potentially season-ending knee injury after just nine minutes, it appeared to be a harbinger of doom. The Grizz went on to lose that game by 32 points, perhaps in a state of shock at the loss of their top dog. That defeat left them a game under .500 with a net rating better the only four teams in the NBA and worse even than the then 5-16 Pelicans. Things were not looking great.

Since then though, Memphis has gone 4-0. They’ve done it with Tyus Jones starting in place of Morant, and while Jones is nowhere near the offensive force of nature that Ja is, he is a stout defender for his position. His emergence has helped the Grizzlies boast a skimpy 90.7 net rating over this four-game stretch.

They’ve also been aided by injuries. After a win against the Kings, they beat the Raptors without OG Anunoby, the Thunder without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and most recently the Mavs without either Luka Doncic or Kristaps Porzingis.

They may get lucky again. The Heat are currently listing Jimmy Butler as questionable with a tailbone injury. Like Morant, Butler has missed four straight, but unlike Memphis, Miami has struggled in his absence, with just a 1-3 record on the court and against the spread. Throw in the long term absence of Bam Adebayo and it’s little surprise the Heat have covered just two of their last eight games.

This is a good opportunity to use the Butler uncertainty to your advantage. If he’s ruled out, this line likely drops down, but even if he plays, there’s a good chance the red hot Grizz at least keep it to a one-possession game. That’ll be more than enough.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Miami Heat Pick

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Detroit Pistons

Thunder vs Pistons Odds

It’s been quite a season for the Thunder. After starting the year out 0-4 with several non-competitive losses, they reeled off six wins in 10 games, including multiple wins over the supposedly contending Lakers. It looked like Team Tank was going to be a feisty bunch all year long.

Since then though, the Thunder have lost eight straight. They’ve been outscored by a league-high 123 points in that time, but if you take away the debacle in Memphis, it’s been a 50-point margin in the other seven games combined. That’s just regular old terrible as opposed to all-time travesty.

“Regular old terrible” is right where the Pistons have been living for a while now. They too have lost eight straight, although that’s a bit deceiving. They just finished a five-game road trip against solid competition and before that had three close losses at home: to the Warriors by three, to the Lakers by five in the Isaiah Stewart game, and then to the then-heathy Heat by eight. In their own arena, they are at least a competitive team.

Against this OKC team, who will again be without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, that will be enough. This spread isn’t prohibitive and the Pistons usually fight (sometimes literally). Give the points in Detroit.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Detroit Pistons Pick

Article Author


Dean of Knicks Film School, host: KFS Pod, co-host: Pick N Pod. There isn't much about Knicks basketball that Jonathan doesn't know and he's here to break down the big games each and every week.

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