Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction: Memphis Is on a Roll

The Grizzlies look to extend their winning streak in Cleveland, the shorthanded Spurs take on the suddenly healthy Raptors, and two depleted teams face off at MSG. NBA expert Jonathan Macri is here with his predictions and picks for Tuesday night's NBA action.
Jonathan Macri |
Tue, January 4, 9:50 AM EST | 8 min read
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Grizzlies Ja Morant

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction: Memphis Is on a Roll

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Spread: Spurs -3

Total: 217.5

Click Here for Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies Odds

Sometimes you know when a team is about to go on an extended run, and in case we didn’t already have the Memphis Grizzlies pegged for that designation, we certainly do now.

In what was one of the signature performances of the season, Ja Morant (with a helping hand from Desmond Bane) went into Brooklyn last night and owned the championship favorite Nets. The win pushed Memphis’ winning streak to five games, four of which they’ve covered. Three of those covers have been on the road, which is where they are tonight, facing a team with the best betting margin in the league.

That the Cavs still hold that designation after for straight losses against the spread is a testament to how dominant they were over the season’s first two months, but they’ve since come back down to earth. After losing outright to the Pelicans, Wizards and Hawks – all teams in the bottom half of the league in net rating – they managed to beat a Pacers team on Sunday that was missing half of its normal rotation.

In other words, we might be seeing a reversion to the norm. That this has happened as Ricky Rubio has gone down with a torn ACL isn’t a coincidence; he was one of the unsung heroes of this NBA season and brought stability to a lineup heavy on young players without a proven track record.

Considering all of the above, it’s a surprise the Grizzlies are getting any points at all, even on the second night of a back to back. Keep riding the Memphis wave for as long as it lasts.

Cavaliers vs. Grizzlies Pick

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Toronto Raptors vs. San Antonio Spurs Prediction

When: 7:00 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA League Pass

Click Here for Raptors vs Spurs Odds

A funny thing happened in Toronto on Sunday night: for just the fourth time all season, and the first time in seven weeks, the Raptors had their fully healthy starting five.

It came against a depleted Knicks team and only resulted in a 15-point win, but still, the results were encouraging. The group played well together, led by Fred VanVleet, who is on an absolute tear, with three 30-point games in his last four outings. Defensively, they gave no quarter and forced the Knicks into more than a few tough shots. The final margin would have been larger had it not been for extended garbage time.

Which brings us to tonight: a matchup with a Spurs team that hasn’t looked the same without Dejounte Murray, their best player, and leader on the court. San Antonio has dropped three straight, including their last game to Detroit despite the fact that the Pistons were still missing most of their rotation due to health and safety protocols.

Speaking of protocols, the Spurs will also be without Doug McDermott and Lonnie Walker, while Keita Bate-Diop is questionable with a hamstring.

It all points to another W for the suddenly healthy Raptors, and it won’t be close. Give the points at home.

Raptors vs. Spurs Pick

New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Prediction

When: 7:30 pm ET

Where to Watch: NBA TV

Click Here for Knicks vs Pacers Odds

As someone who covers this team on a daily basis, it is beyond me how the Knicks are giving points in this game.

While there’s a fair bit of debate about just how much fault falls on Julius Randle’s broad shoulders this season, what can’t be argued is that the team has looked out of sorts without him over the last two games. The ball is moving on offense, but often times nowhere productive, and no one on the team seems to be able to hit an open shot.

Just as notable as the absence of Julius is that of both of New York’s point guards: Derrick Rose, who will miss at least another month, and Kemba Walker, who tweaked his knee in pregame warmups on New Year’s Eve and remains out.

Without a single advantage creator on the roster, New York has had a hellish time trying to put the ball in the basket. On defense, they’ll get Mitchell Robinson back after a one-game absence, but he’s struggled mightily against the stretchy Myles Turner in the past.

Turner will play tonight, along with Domantas Sabonis, who is an unfair matchup for Obi Toppin. The Pacers don’t have much by way of rotation players after those two, but given the likelihood of the doubles they’ll run at Sabonis, as long as those fill-in Pacers can hit open threes – something teams have been doing against New York all season – they should have enough to take this one.

Probably wise to stay away given all the absences on both sides, but take the points on the road if you must.

Knicks vs. Pacers Pick

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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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