The future of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant is up in the air, but for now his team will be without the suspended guard for Tuesday’s trip to La-La Land to face the Los Angeles Lakers.
Memphis set no timetable for Morant’s return following his late-night social media post in which the All-Star was seen brandishing a gun inside a nightclub last Saturday. The Grizzlies battled hard in their first game without Morant on Sunday, losing 135-129 to the L.A. Clippers.
The other Los Angeles team is also playing without its superstar, but for injury-related reasons, as LeBron James continues to sit out due to a foot ailment. The Lakers have split wins and losses in the four games since losing James, including a 121-109 defeat at Memphis on February 28.
I run down the point spread and Over/Under total for this Western Conference clash and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Grizzlies at Lakers on March 7.
Grizzlies vs Lakers best odds
Grizzlies vs Lakers picks and predictions
With Morant in hot water and out of action, Memphis is putting primary point guard duties on Tyus Jones.
Jones stepped up with a huge game against the Clippers on Sunday, scoring 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting while dealing out 12 assists in the loss at Los Angeles. His floor time spiked to 31 minutes, and he was very active from outside, knocking down 5 of 7 from distance with Dillon Brooks also missing in the backcourt.
While I don’t see him being as aggressive offensively with Brooks back for tonight’s game, Jones has shown he’s a viable option within this offense when Morant is missing. In the 10 games without Morant, Jones is averaging 19.4 points and 8.1 assists – a significant uptick from his season numbers of 9.8 points and 4.6 assists.
Oddsmakers are projecting 15 points and eight assists from Jones versus the Lakers tonight and his combo prop of points + assists ranges from 22.5 (Over -150) to as high as 24.5 (Under -115) across mainstream operators.
Jones will draw L.A. guard Dennis Schroder as his main check and could see a dinged-up D’Angelo Russell if he’s able to play. Schroder has been torched by rival point guards in recent games and criticized for his efforts by his teammates.
Jones played less than 14 minutes off the bench against the Lakers on Feb. 28 and finished with seven points on 3-of-6 shooting and added four assists in the Grizzlies win.
We’ll grab the low combo total on Jones’ points/assists and expect him to pick up the slack as a starter once again.
My best bet: Tyus Jones Over 22.5 points + assists (-150)
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Grizzlies vs Lakers spread analysis
Los Angeles opened between -1.5 and -2 for this home stand with the Grizzlies and the market has settled at -1.5 with some sharper books dipping to -1 on Tuesday morning.
Oddsmakers knew Morant would be out for this matchup, but L.A. has some injured issues to sort out before tonight’s 10 p.m. ET tipoff. Forward Anthony Davis is trending toward probable while he manages ongoing foot pain and guard D’Angelo Russell has been upgraded to questionable after missing the previous five games with an ankle injury.
The Lakers are coming off an important victory over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday, picking up a 113-105 win as 5-point home underdogs. Without LeBron leading the charge, the new-look L.A. lineup has struggled a bit offensively but has been very sound on the other end of the floor.
Los Angeles has watched its defensive rating improve from 114.3 (20th) to 108.9 (3rd) in the nine games since revamping its roster at the trade deadline, going 6-3 ATS in that stretch. The Lakers’ worst defensive effort in that span was against Memphis, with Morant leading the charge with a monster second half and 39 points in the win.
The Grizzlies still put up 129 points last time out, despite Morant’s absence as well as Brooks serving a one-game suspension and Brandon Clarke suffering a season-ending injury the game prior. Memphis lost its second straight game but stayed within the 7.5-point closing spread to improve to 4-1 ATS in its last five showings.
The Grizz closed as 9-point home chalk in the win over Los Angeles on Feb. 28. Memphis originally opened as low as a 3.5-point favorite, but when James was ruled out, books swung the number to -8, and the public pounced on the Grizzlies and brought the line as high as -9.5 before some late buyback on L.A.
On the season, Memphis owns a 30-31-2 ATS count, with an 11-20-1 ATS record on the road. Los Angeles is 16-15 inside Crypto.com Arena, part of a 31-33-1 ATS record on the season.
Grizzlies vs Lakers Over/Under analysis
This Over/Under number opened as low as 226 points and has climbed as high as 227 as of Tuesday morning, but we've seen the total slim to 225.5 before noon ET.
That number is a downtick from the 230-point closing total we saw between these teams a week ago, with that Over/Under opening as high as 237 points before James was ruled out. The 121-109 final score landed square on that closing total, with Memphis’ 121 points doing the lion’s share of the scoring.
The Grizzlies have faced just 24 sub-230 totals this season, going 15-8-1 O/U in those contests. Morant was missing for seven of those shorter numbers with the team going 4-3 O/U without him in action, including Sunday’s loss to the Clippers.
These two foes rank near the top of the league in tempo, with the Lakers No. 2 in pace rating and the Grizzlies ranked out No. 7. Both offenses push the ball in transition and like to do their scoring in the paint, but are missing the key engines in those attacks with Morant and James out of the lineup.
Neither side is especially dangerous from downtown, with L.A. and Memphis shooting a combined 19 for 65 in their last meet-up. The Lakers' new-look lineup is averaging a little over 11 made triples on 33% shooting from deep in the past nine games while the Grizz are averaging 12 3-pointers on 35.7% shooting since the All-Star break.
As for season-long Over/Under records, the Lakers are 13-18 O/U at home and 33-32 O/U on the year while the Grizzlies own a 13-19 O/U road mark, part of a 27-34-2 O/U record.
Grizzlies vs Lakers betting trend to know
Memphis is 15-8-1 Over/Under versus totals of less than 230 points this season, including 4-3 O/U without Ja Morant against those sub-230 totals. Find more NBA betting trends for Grizzlies vs. Lakers.
Grizzlies vs Lakers game info
|Location:||Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA|
|Date:||Tuesday, March 7, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:00 p.m. ET|