Ja Morant dunk of the year candidate brings attention to surging Grizzlies

By Adam Burke  (VSiN.com) 

January 15, 2023 09:43 AM

Memphis has won nine in a row and sits second in the Western Conference

It was a singular moment in time that put the Memphis Grizzlies up by 20 points against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night, but it was also a highlight that illustrated what Ja Morant and the Grizzlies just might be capable of as the season rolls along.

The dunk? Yeah, it was sick. From all angles.

Nice, little plug for DraftKings from the overhead view as well. Morant’s dunk had nothing to do with the huge lead that the Grizzlies got out to in their ninth straight victory, but it was an emphatic statement in the 130-112 win that vaulted Memphis into a tie atop the Western Conference with the Denver Nuggets.

Memphis Grizzlies odds

Last year’s group was +10000 to win the NBA Championship at the start of the season with a win total line of 41.5. This year’s group started at +2000 and a win total line of 49.5.

The current odds have Memphis at +1000 to win the NBA Championship and +450 to win the Western Conference.

At 29-13, Memphis is sitting pretty at the halfway point of the season. The Grizzlies actually lead the Western Conference in per-game point differential and are second in the NBA in Net Rating, trailing only the Boston Celtics. Memphis is actually the league’s top team by Defensive Rating and a respectable 10th in Offensive Rating. The “rating” stats are “an estimate of points scored/allowed per 100 possessions”.

This has been an impressive encore performance thus far to last season’s 56-26 record, though the Grizzlies fell to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the second round of the playoffs. They were a top-five team in both Offensive Rating and Defensive Rating last season, so this year’s performance should come as no surprise.

Morant is currently +2200 to win the NBA MVP. He’s averaging 27.4 points per game with 7.9 assists and 5.8 rebounds per contest.

Memphis Grizzlies schedule

The current nine-game winning streak has replaced an earlier seven-game winning streak as the team’s best run, with upcoming home games against the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavaliers.

After that, the Grizzlies embark on a five-game road trip against the Lakers, Suns, Kings, Warriors and Timberwolves. The Suns are still fading fast in the absence of Devin Booker and the Lakers are a mess, but the other three teams are all legitimate playoff contenders, especially the Warriors with the recent return of Stephen Curry.

Memphis is 18-3 at home and just 11-10 on the road, so that upcoming road trip will be a good litmus test for the team. Saturday’s victory did come on the road against Indiana and four of the nine victories have been away from FedEx Forum.

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