With Cleveland big man Evan Mobley out at least through the weekend with a sprained left ankle, it’s possible that he could lose NBA Rookie of the Year honors – Mobley is still a solid favorite – to Toronto’s Scottie Barnes if Barnes can take advantage with big games over the next handful of days. Here’s a look at two must-bet NBA games this weekend. Check back for NBA odds.
Must-Bet NBA Weekend Games
Phoenix at Memphis, Friday
NBA TV has the telecast at 8 p.m. and this could be a preview of the Western Conference Finals. The Suns already have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and best record in the NBA, and the Grizzlies are going to finish second in both categories. The teams will not meet again after Friday unless it is in the West Finals.
This loses a bit of luster as Memphis is without Ja Morant, but the Grizzlies are still rolling without the All-Star on a six-game winning streak. They are 19-2 without him overall this season, which is crazy. In fact, the Grizzlies still had Morant active the last time they suffered a loss, which was against the Atlanta Hawks on March 18. He left that game with a right knee issue. De’Anthony Melton has really stepped up of late. In the past six game, Melton has averaged 19.8 points on 58.3 FG%. He’s knocked down 5.0 threes per game on an unsustainable 58.8 three-point percentage.
Memphis is 31 games above .500, which breaks the franchise record set in the final game of the 2012‐13 season, finishing a club‐best 56‐26.
Phoenix enters on a nine-game winning streak but when will the Suns start resting guys with the top seed all wrapped up? I’d guess the Suns want to make a statement Friday, though. The Suns’ 62 wins have tied the franchise record set in the 1992-93 and 2004-05 seasons. Phoenix is 46-0 on the season when leading entering the fourth quarter. That’s an NBA record for most wins in a season without a loss when entering the fourth quarter with the lead in the shot clock era (43-0 by the 2019-20 Lakers was previous record).
The Suns and Grizzlies have split two meetings and they haven’t played since Dec. 27 when the Grizzlies won 114-113 in Phoenix. Devin Booker gave Phoenix the lead on a three-pointer with five seconds left, but Morant made a layup with 0.5 seconds left for the win. Phoenix was playing without starters Deandre Ayton and Jae Crowder, as well as coach Monty Williams, all on the COVID-19 protocol list.
Utah at Golden State, Saturday
Tip of 8:30 PM ET with no national TV. This also has huge playoff implications as Golden State sits fourth in the West but is sinking fast and Utah is sixth. Quite possible these teams finish 4-5 and they meet in the first round out West.Steph Curry will not be back for this game for the Warriors or likely in the regular season. Curry sprained a ligament in his left foot during Golden State’s loss on March 16 against the Boston Celtics. The team still believes he will be ready for Round 1 of the playoffs.Jordan Poole has been starting for Curry and playing terrific basketball. In the past 14 games, during which both Klay Thompson and Curry have missed time, Poole is averaging 25.5 points on a scintillating 45.4 percent from 3, while dishing 4.9 assists. In Wednesday’s loss to the Suns, Poole finished with a season-high 38 points, had nine rebounds, seven assists and made seven 3-pointers. Only Curry has ever matched or topped that statline in Warriors history. Poole is ranked second in free throw percentage (.918) league-wide.
The Warriors have the third-best defensive rating (106.8) in the NBA, trailing only Boston (105.9) and Phoenix (106.6). Golden State has the 15thbest offensive rating (111.9) this season.
Utah has had its own injury issues but is pretty healthy now and Rudy Gobert could win his fourth NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award – that would tie a league record. Second-leading scorer Bojan Bogdanovic had missed nine straight games with a left calf strain but returned Thursday vs. the Lakers. n Bogdanovic set a franchise record by knocking down 11 threes at Oklahoma City on March 6.
Saturday concludes the season series between the teams. Golden State won the first two but lost the last one, 111-85, in Utah on Feb. 9. Bogdanovic scored 23 points and Donovan Mitchell had 14 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as the Jazz stopped the Warriors’ nine-game winning streak at the time. Mitchell fell just short of Utah’s first triple-double since Carlos Boozer did it 14 years ago. Utah allowed just eight baskets and 28 points over the final 21 minutes, and four of those came in the last 3:26 of the game. The Jazz did that without Gobert, who was hurt at the time. Poole led Golden State with 18 points and Stephen Curry had 16. Klay Thompson was out.
- Grizzlies and Jazz moneyline parlay
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