Grizzlies at Cavaliers (-12.5, 204) – 7:05 ET, NBA TV
Fighting to keep their place among the Western Conference’s top eight without Marc Gasol, the Grizzlies have actually played well of late, but haven’t been able to solve lowly Phoenix. The Suns beat the Griz for the second time in an eight-day span on Sunday, rallying in the second half. Since Gasol fractured his foot on Feb. 8 in a loss to Portland, Memphis has actually won seven of 10 games, losing only to the Raptors in addition to the Suns. Toronto has been the only team with a winning record that the Grizzlies have faced before tonight. New acquisition Lance Stephenson has helped anchor the bench, while point guard Mike Conley has scored over 20 points in six of the last 11 games.
The Cavs have won three straight since LeBron James took a game off two Sundays ago in D.C. They gave Kevin Love a night off against the Wizards on March 4 but still won by 25 points, following that up with a 17-point Saturday night win over the Celtics despite falling behind early. This is the final game of a four-game homestand that they’ve been perfect on. Cleveland has the best home record in the Eastern Conference, entering this one 27-5, a mark that only trails undefeated San Antonio (30-0) and Golden State (26-0) in superiority.
Chris Andersen, who has re-christened himself “Grizzilla” and is listed in the Memphis game notes as being 14-feet tall, injured his left shoulder against the Suns and left in the second quarter. He’s not expected to play. Tony Allen has missed the last eight games with a knee injury, but he should return this week and may be in the mix as early as tonight. The Cavs are without Mo Williams. The score in three of the last four Grizzlies games has fallen below the posted total. The ‘under’ is 6-3 in Cleveland’s last nine.
Bucks at Bulls (-7, 210) – 8:05 ET
Jimmy Butler returned to the Chicago lineup on Saturday night after an 11-game absence due to a nasty-looking knee sprain and experienced no setbacks, playing without limitations. Butler fouled out in 34 minutes but finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists while blanketing James Harden when on duty. Taj Gibson also returned following a one-game absence due to a hamstring injury. The return of two key figures helped the Bulls snap a four-game losing streak that had dropped the team down to. 500 for the first time all season.
The Bucks lost at home against Oklahoma City on Sunday after scoring just 12 points in the first quarter, a franchise-low for an opening first 12 minutes. Giannis Antetokounmpo racked up a third triple-double in a seven-game span, scoring 26 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out 10 assists. He added four blocks and three steals and has been a stat-stuffing monster since coming back off the All-Star break, averaging 19.9 points, 10.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists. The Bucks have also made a concerted effort to get Jabari Parker more touches and got a career-high 36 points from him to open last week with a 128-121 win over Houston. Michael Carter-Williams remains sidelined with a knee injury. The Bucks have scored 95 or more points in 13 of the last 15, but the ‘under’ is 8-7 in their games in that span.
Both of this season’s meetings between these teams have gone over the posted total. Each team has won on their home court in games that were played one week apart in early January.
Magic at Warriors (-15.5, 223) – 10:35 ET
Golden State will look to set an NBA record with its 45th consecutive victory inside Oakland’s Oracle Arena. After a humbling defeat at the hands of the Lakers on Sunday, the Warriors will look to avoid consecutive losses for the first time this season as Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson look to bounce back from a disastrous shooting game. The normally prolific Splash brothers shot a combined 1-for-18 from 3-point range to help L.A. cash as an 18-point underdog, delivering +1000 at most books on the money line.
Fortunately for the defending champions, they’ll be able to get right back at it against a Magic defense that has surrendered over 100 points in eight of the last nine games, allowing over 115 in four of those. Scott Skiles hasn’t been able to get his team to lock in, as the acquisition of Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings added to a predominantly offensive core. Orlando comes off a disastrous Friday night loss to Phoenix, falling 102-84 in matching their second-lowest point total of the season. Victor Oladipo sat with a lower back contusion that isn’t expected to be a lingering issue.
These teams just played less than two weeks ago, as Curry made 20-of-27 shots and hit 10-of-15 3-pointers in dropping 51 points to lift the Warriors to a 130-114 win. Golden State has won five straight games in this series, last losing to the Magic in Dec. 2012. The Warriors haven’t lost consecutive regular-season games since last April.