Brooklyn Nets at Memphis Grizzlies (-4.5, 177.5)
The Memphis Grizzlies have bounced back from a three-game skid by winning three of the past four games. More importantly for the Grizzlies is the way they have tightened up defensively after allowing an average of 102 points during the losing streak. That defense will be tested when the red-hot Brooklyn Nets pay a visit to Memphis on Friday night. The Grizzlies are second to Indiana in points allowed at 89.5 and have surrendered an average of only 81.5 points in the last four. The only loss in the span was an 82-81 setback to the Pacers.
The Nets have won three straight and 10 of 11 following Wednesday's 91-83 victory at Minnesota. Brooklyn's defense hasn't been too shabby either, permitting only 85.7 points during the three-game win streak. The Nets are 12-2 since assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo was promoted to replace the fired Avery Johnson. The hot spell has propelled the team within one game of the New York Knicks for the lead in the Atlantic Division. The Grizzles and Nets have split the past 10 meetings.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, YES (Brooklyn), SportSouth (Memphis)
ABOUT THE NETS (26-16, 20-19-3 ATS): A broken foot cost center Brook Lopez all but five games last season - and may have prevented him from being dealt to Orlando for Dwight Howard. Lopez is doing his best to make sure Brooklyn has no misgivings about failing to make the trade. The 7-footer scored a team-high 22 points against Minnesota, giving him four 20-point outings in his last five games. Lopez is averaging 20 points and 8.5 rebounds in the past five games, and his shooting percentage (52.1) is his highest since his 2008-09 rookie campaign (53.1)
ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES (27-14, 24-16-1 ATS): Defense isn't the only area where Memphis made huge strides. After being held to 85 points or fewer in six consecutive games, the Grizzlies broke out of their doldrums in a 106-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. The offensive eruption came 24 hours after the team dealt away reserves Marreese Speights, Wayne Ellington and Josh Selby in a salary-dump trade. Reserve forward Darrell Arthur wasted no time capitalizing on the additional playing time by scoring a season-high 20 points.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Nets are 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings in Memphis.
* Under is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in Memphis.
* Nets are 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
1. Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph, who leads the NBA with 27 double-doubles, was named to the Western Conference All-Star team on Thursday.
2. After losing its final four road games in December, Brooklyn is 5-1 away from home this month.
3. The magic number for Memphis is 100. The team is 12-0 when scoring in triple digits.