The Charlotte Hornets travel West to take on the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum on Wednesday night.
Charlotte is on a roll right now with five wins in their last seven outings. The Hornets have won two in a row to move within one game of the .500 mark. The Hornets are without Devonte Graham but with LaMelo Ball playing very well right now, Charlotte is barely missing Graham. On the other hand, the Grizzlies are missing several key players. With Justise Winslow, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and De’Anthony Melton all out, Memphis has lost its last four assignments.
These teams played on New Year’s day with Memphis winning 108-93 behind Dillon Brooks’ 21 points. Bismack Biyombo led the Hornets in that game.
The Charlotte Hornets have improved to 12-13 on the season and are just one win away from returning to the .500 mark. Charlotte is on top of the lowly Southeast Division and is 6th in the Eastern Conference team standings, just 1.5 games behind the 3rd place Brooklyn Nets. In their last game, the Hornets took out the Houston Rockets 119-94.
LaMelo Ball erupted for 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 7 assists including a record-setting seven three-pointers made. Miles Bridges added a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Gordon Hayward also scored 19. Terry Rozier scored 15 points on 3-8 three-point shooting while Malik Monk contributed 14 points for the Hornets.
Charlotte ranks 20th in the league in scoring at 110.8 points per game but they have the 10th best scoring defense at 110.4 points per game allowed. The Hornets are 15th in rebounding at 44.4 boards grabbed per contest and are the number one passing team in the NBA at 28.1 assists per game. They are just 5-6 on the road and are last in the East when it comes to three-point shooting at 37.8%.
The Memphis Grizzlies are 9-10 on the season. They are in second place in the Southwest Division and are 11th in the Western Conference teams standings, just one game off the 8th spot and three games back of 5th place. The Grizzlies have lost their last four games and are coming off a 113-128 loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Jonas Valanciunas grabbed a season-high 20 rebounds while scoring 27 points against Toronto. Dillon Brook added 22 points while Ja Morant added 18 points and 9 assists but shot just 5-17 from the field. Grayson Allen contributed 12 points off the bench for the Grizzlies were without Justise Winslow, Jaren Jackson Jr, Brandon Clarke, and De’Anthony Melton.
Memphis is just 22nd in the NBA in scoring at only 109.9 points per game scored. They however have the 11th best scoring defense in the league at 110.7 points per game allowed. The Grizzlies are 10th in rebounding at 44.9 boards grabbed per contest and are 2nd in passing at 28.1 assists per game. Memphis has won three of 10 homes games this season and leads the Western Conference in points in the paint at 53.8
Charlotte is 5-2 SU in their last seven games played. The Hornets are 5-6 SU in 11 road games played this season, and 5-13 SU in their last 18 games against the Western Conference. Memphis is 1-4 SU in their last five games played. The Grizzlies are 3-7 in 10 home games played this campaign, 2-9 SU in their last 11 February games, and 2-4 SU in their last six games played on a Wednesday. Head to head, the Hornets are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played against the Grizzlies.
The Hornets have won five out of their last seven games and have looked like a different team with LaMelo Ball inserted in the starting lineup. Ball has been averaging 23 points over his last six contests with Terry Rozier then Devonte Graham out.
With LaMelo Ball hitting over 50% of his three-pointers during that period, he should be a problem for the Grizzlies who are 23rd in the league in 3PT% allowed.
Memphis is in a funk right now as the team has dropped its last four games after going on a seven-game winning streak. The Grizzlies will be without Justise Winslow, Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke, and De’Anthony Melton. Jonas Valanciunas is coming off a 20-20 game against the Raptors. However, Memphis may be missing too many pieces right now.
Charlotte is playing its best basketball right now behind LaMelo Ball and if he continues to develop, this team is going to be a tough customer for anybody. The Grizzlies should give a good account of themselves here. But with Hayward and Ball throwing haymakers at them, I expect the road team to pull off the upset.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games played. Charlotte is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games played on the road, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Southwest division. The Grizzlies are 1-4 ATS in their last five games played. Memphis is 3-6-1 ATS in 10 home games played this season. Head to head, the Grizzlies are 3-0 ATS in their last three games played against the Hornets
Their deep bench is the main strength of this Memphis Grizzlies team. However, with Melton and Clark still out of this game, they are going to lose a lot of that depth. Charlotte has been playing with a different energy since LaMelo Ball was inserted into the starting lineup. The kid is absolutely balling right now and he’s even playing better than Ja Morant lately. With the way both teams are trending, I’m looking at the Hornets to pull off the upset over the Grizzlies. I’ll take the plus points on the road team here.
Prediction: Charlotte Hornets +3.5
.The total has gone over in nine out of the last 13 games played by the Hornets. The over is 7-4 in their 11 road games played this season. The total has gone over in four out of the last six games played by Memphis. The under is 16-4 in their last 20 home games. Head to head, the total has gone over in five out of the last seven meetings between these two teams. The over is 6-1 in their last seven games played in Memphis.
These teams rank 10th and 11th in scoring defense, giving up a combined 221.1 points per game this season. Charlotte has allowed fewer than 100 points in their last two games played while the Grizzlies have scored 113 or fewer points in each of their last three games played. These two teams combined for only 201 points during their first meeting on New Year’s Day. Games between these two teams are usually low-scoring. With Memphis missing several players here, I don’t expect this one to be different.
Prediction: Under 225.5
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