Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Prediction: Is This a Statement Game for San Antonio?

The Spurs and Knicks are both on the road for New Year's Eve missing their top guys. Will one feel the loss more than the other? NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Friday night.
Jonathan Macri |
Fri, December 31, 1:05 PM EST | 7 min read
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Grizzlies Jaren Jackson & Morant

Memphis Grizzlies vs. San Antonio Spurs Prediction: Is This a Statement Game for San Antonio?

When: Friday, December 31, 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Spread: Grizzlies -5.5

Total: 226.5

Click Here for Grizzlies vs Spurs Odds

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Grizzlies vs. Spurs Prediction

It’s nearly 2022 and we’re still not taking the San Antonio Spurs seriously.

Or at least not seriously enough. Despite sitting five games under .500 and barely in 10th place in the West, they’re owners of the 10th best net rating in the NBA, behind only the clear top nine teams in the league, all of which have at least 20 wins. Since November 26, they are 5th in that ranking, outscoring opponents by 7.2 points per 100 possessions.

In both the whole season and more recent rankings though, they still trail the Memphis Grizzlies, owners of the ninth best net rating on the year and the third-best since November 26. The Grizzlies have been, along with the Cavs, the best story in the NBA, actually bettering their output once star guard Ja Morant went out with an injury.

They’ve also won three in a row, including an impressive win in Phoenix by one. More recently, they came from behind to beat the Lakers at home by five. They are, without question, a team to be reckoned with.

But this line doesn’t give nearly enough respect to a healthy San Antonio, who is 12-4 against the spread over their last 16 games. They’ve also covered four straight, and prior to a close loss to the mighty Jazz back on December 27, had won three straight outright.

All that being said, the Spurs are not the same team without Dejounte Murray. They have survived well enough over the last several games without him, but even the close loss to the Jazz was against a team missing Donovan Mitchell, and the prior three wins came against the struggling Lakers, the Clippers without Paul George, and the porous Kings.

As good as San Antonio has been, this is a time to give the points at home and go with Memphis.

Grizzlies vs. Spurs Pick

  • Grizzlies -5.5 (-110)

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New York Knicks Prediction

When: 8:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass/MSG Network

Thunder vs Knicks Odds

What to make of the New York Knickerbockers?

The latest development for one of the most frustrating teams in the NBA: Julius Randle, New York’s nominal best player, perhaps the most disappointing player in the entire league, just entered health and safety protocols. On one hand, the Knicks (who have won and covered three straight despite inconsistent to outright poor performances in each game) have performed far better all season long without Randle.

On the other hand, they have no advantage creators on their roster, with Kemba Walker perhaps coming the closest but who has come back down to earth after his Player of the Week campaign. Obi Toppin should take Randle’s place in the starting five, and his constant motion should be more conducive to the play of New York’s bevy of guards who can both penetrate and shoot off the dribble from deep.

For OKC, they are down several rotation players but continue to play teams hard. That said, it’s no coincidence that they’ve not only lost two straight but also dropped both against the spread. He’s currently questionable for this game, and whether he plays should probably dictate which way you go where this line is concerned.

In the meantime, the bet is that there will be an adjustment period for the Knicks without Randle in the lineup. They’ll get their fourth straight win, but it’s probably going to be closer than we think. Take the points at home.

Thunder vs. Knicks Pick

Jonathan Macri
@JCMacriNBA

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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