NBA: Portland Blazers at Memphis Grizzlies Preview, Picks, Odds Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Monday, 03 December 2007 03:30
NBA Headline News

Building Something Good

The Memphis Grizzlies have shown signs of improvement lately. The Portland Trail Blazers, meanwhile, seem to be regressing.

The teams meet Monday in Memphis with the Grizzlies looking to continue building on their recent success and the Blazers still seeking their first win on the road.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Memphis -9 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 203 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 73% of bets for this game have been placed on Memphis -9 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

The Grizzlies (6-10) have won three of their last four, including a 109-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. Memphis had six players in double figures, led by Rudy Gay with 21 points.

Mike Miller added 18 points and a season-high 14 rebounds.

The 29-point margin of victory was tied for fifth-largest in franchise history for the Grizzlies, who scored 60 points in the second half and led by as many as 37.

"I think we're taking small steps," said Memphis' Stromile Swift, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for his first double-double of the season. "That's all we can ask of ourselves. We're improving every day, every game. A lot of people may not be able to see it, but we can see it. So, we want to just continue to get better."

Gay, who averaged 10.8 points as a rookie last season, has improved his average to 17.4 in 2007-08. He had been held below 10 points in the two games prior to Saturday, but coach Marc Iavaroni is pleased with what he sees.

"It's easy for a guy with his offensive capabilities to be concerned about his offense, but the more he focuses on defense the more he focuses on energy and working hard, the easier the offensive game becomes especially when everybody around him is doing the same thing," Iavaroni said.

Memphis lost the only previous matchup between these teams this season, 110-89 at Portland on Nov. 9. The Blazers (5-12) have also won three of the last four matchups in Memphis.

The Nov. 9 game occurred during a four-game winning streak for Portland. However, the Blazers have lost nine of 10 since that run, including their last four games. They will now try to salvage one victory on a three-game road trip after a 100-79 defeat at San Antonio on Sunday.

Portland fell to 0-9 on the road, where it is being outscored by an average margin of 13.2 points.

Sunday's loss also marked the second-lowest point total of the season for the Blazers, and the third time in the last week they failed to exceed 80.

"This is the lowest point. This is definitely the lowest point," said Portland guard Brandon Roy, who scored a season-low four points while shooting 1-for-9 from the field.

Roy is averaging 16.5 points per game, but has managed a total of just 12 on this road trip.

Following Monday's game, the Blazers play 10 of their next 12 at home. Regardless of the venue, coach Nate McMillan is pondering lineup changes if his team doesn't show improvement soon.

"Our team has to start by taking a look at what we're doing, fix it and get some fire," he said. "You don't always want change (lineups) but we definitely need a lift. If things keep looking the same we might have to look at ways to shake it up."

By: Marc Young - - Email Us

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