Ja Morant is a game-time decision for the Memphis Grizzlies as they attempt to even their Western Conference quarterfinal series with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday.
Morant suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Memphis’ 128-112 loss in Game 1 and his questionable status has swung the odds for tonight’s Game 2. The Grizzlies opened as big as 2.5-point home favorites but got bumped to slim underdogs as the betting markets await an update on Memphis’ star player.
The Game 2 odds will shift once we know more on Morant, but until then I look at the current spread and Over/Under total for Wednesday’s matchup and I give my best NBA picks and predictions for Lakers vs. Grizzlies on April 19.
Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 best odds
Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 picks and predictions
Purple and Gold faithful were holding their heads at the halftime break of Game 1 after Lakers star big man Anthony Davis left the floor late in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Davis told the bench he couldn’t move his arm, and it seemed like the snake-bitten forward had doomed L.A.’s chances of not only winning the series opener with Memphis but contending for the NBA title. The ABC halftime show seemed more like a eulogy to what could have been than analysis of the first 24 minutes of Game 1.
Then — POOF! — Davis was back on the floor to start the second half. Cancel the flowers ESPN.
Davis scored 10 points on 5 of 10 shooting in the first half before jamming his shoulder and had an apparent advantage over a smaller Grizzlies frontcourt that’s playing without pillars Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke.
He added 12 points on just 5 of 7 attempts (with two free throws) in the second half but gave up touches to the Lakers perimeter, which went full “Human Torch” with guys like Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and Rui Hachimura making everything in the final 24 minutes.
Despite those 16 made triples, the Lakers are not a great outside team, and a reprise of that Game 1 shooting performance is far from a given. Los Angeles is a team that does its damage in the paint and Davis emerged as the No. 1 option in the second half of the schedule, averaging almost 26 points per game after the All-Star break.
Davis’ point prop for Game 2 is set at 24.5 (Over -111) – a number that reflects his Game 1 stat line, but also a downtick in scoring production with the return of LeBron James and Russell to the offense in the last 10 contests. Davis scored 24 points in the overtime play-in win over Minnesota and amassed point totals of 21, 17, 16, and 14 in the final four games of the regular season.
His point projections for Game 2 do have a wide range, but most are on the other side of the 24.5-point scoring prop for tonight. Some are calling for closer to 29 points from “The Brow” but I have AD pegged for 26 points, which gets us Over the oddsmakers’ expectations.
The key for Los Angeles is to take and make high-percentage shots, forcing the up-tempo Grizzlies to start their offense from the inbounds and not get out in transition. That begins with Davis going after a smaller and thinner Memphis frontcourt.
He scored 28 and 30 points in his two regular-season matchups with the Grizz, but did so with James and Russell sidelined. I don’t see him reaching those heights tonight but I he will be more involved than Game 1, especially come the fourth quarter (he took only three shots in the final frame on Sunday).
He’s attempted 17 or fewer field goals in all but one of his last six games, but I expect him to be much busier tonight, with closer to 19 or 20 shot attempts. Davis can also pick up bonus buckets on the offensive glass after grabbing four rebounds on the offensive end in Game 1 and snatching four in the previous meeting with Memphis. The Grizzlies allow 11 offensive rebounds per outing — 24th in the league.
My best bet: Anthony Davis Over 24.5 points (-105)
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Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 spread analysis
Before Ja Morant’s status was up in the air, some books opened Memphis as big as 2.5-point home chalk for Game 2.
Other shops waited for more info and watched the markets swing over the fence as far as Grizzlies +1.5. Once reports were out that Morant hadn’t broken his hand and was merely managing pain, the spread started to slim down to Memphis +1.
Should Morant be active, bettors can expect this spread to go back to the original opener and beyond. The Grizzlies were 5-point closing favorites for Game 1 and should end up somewhere in that range — perhaps even higher after losing Game 1 at home. However, if he misses Game 2, action on L.A. will push the Grizz to bigger home pups. The Lakers did outscore the Grizzlies 24-11 in the final 5:48 with Morant sidelined in Game 1.
Memphis has played without Morant this season, and held its own while the guard was suspended and away from the team for nine games in March. The Grizzlies went 6-3 SU and 4-4-1 ATS in those contests, including a 112-103 road loss to the Lakers on March 7. Los Angeles was also without some standouts in James and Russell and won as a 1.5-point home underdog.
Should the Lakers maintain their scoring touch from outside, Memphis will desperately need Morant to power its attack. Los Angeles came to life from distance in Game 1, making 16 triples on 37 attempts from distance. It was an uncharacteristic outpouring from beyond the arc for a team that averages less than 12 makes from deep per game and shoots just 36% from 3-point range since revamping its roster in mid-February.
While we can’t count on L.A. to hit at that clip again in Game 2, we do know we’ll get solid two-way play from a team that surged to the top of both the offensive and defensive ratings in the home stretch of the season. The Lakers owned a net rating of +7.2 in their final 10 games of the regular season and are 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS since James returned from injury on March 26.
With or without Morant, the Grizzlies are a tough test at home. Memphis is 23-18-1 ATS inside FedExForum and boasted a net rating of +11 on its own floor since the All-Star break.
Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 Over/Under analysis
The Game 2 total opened as high as 228 points — the same as the closing Over/Under for Game 1 (final score finished 12 points Over the number) — but shrunk with Morant’s status in doubt. The total tumbled as low as 226 points before seeing buyback on the Over in the past day, raising the number to 227 across the industry on Wednesday morning.
Morant’s status will bring this total up or down a couple points depending on his availability. The Grizzlies could be without their biggest weapon in transition and a guy who can generate his own offense when the shot clock ticks down. In the nine games without Morant in March, Memphis finished 5-4 O/U.
The Grizzlies erupted for 65 points in the first half of Game 1, constantly beating the Lakers down the floor and getting to the rim for high-percentage shots. However, L.A.’s defense tightened up in the second half and with Los Angeles also making 67.5% of its shots, the plug was pulled on the Grizzlies’ transition attack as they were forced to start most possession off the inbounds.
The team’s posted a pace rating of 112.0 in the opening 24 minutes, generating 124 combined points, but throttled down to a rating of just 89.0 in the final two frames and a collective 116 second-half points — despite L.A. making 11 triples.
With the Lakers’ hot hands likely cooled and the Grizz possibly playing without their top scorer, both sides could lean into the defensive prowess tonight. As mentioned, the Lakers finished the regular season with the second-best defensive rating (110.8) in the 26 games with this current roster. Memphis finished the season as the top-rated homecourt defense (107.4) and allows less than 110 points to visitors on the year.
Lakers vs Grizzlies betting trend to know
The Under is 13-6 in Grizzlies’ last 19 games following a loss (68% Unders). Find more NBA betting trends for Lakers vs. Grizzlies.
Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 game info
|Location:||FedExForum, Memphis, TN|
|Date:||Wednesday, April 19, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:30 p.m. ET|
Lakers vs Grizzlies Game 2 key injuries
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