Grizzlies vs. Knicks: The best player prop bets for Feb. 2
The rampaging Memphis Grizzlies are in Madison Square Garden tonight to take on the New York Knicks. The Grizzlies are coming off an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers and will be looking for a get-right win against a struggling New York squad. The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off a rare home win against the Sacramento Kings, but now begin a brutal schedule against some of the league's best.
Grizzlies vs. Knicks tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, and we have the three best player prop bets for tonight's game below.
Thu, February 3 2022, 12:30 AM
JA MORANT OVER/UNDER 27.5 POINTS
He may not win MVP this year, but Ja Morant has ascended to basketball demi-god status. There is no ceiling that feels appropriate anymore when discussing Morant, and multiple times every game he pulls off an athletic feat seemingly never performed before on a basketball court. But there’s substance to the flash too. He’s a thoroughly consistent player, the hallmark of a true superstar. 26.4 points, 6.8 assists, and 6.0 assists on the year is a remarkable stat line for a third-year player, and it really feels like he’s just scratching the surface of a Hall of Fame career.
Even All-Defensive Team terror Matisse Thybulle had to be pleased with holding Ja to *only* 37 points on 50% from the field last game. And after stewing on a tough loss all day yesterday, one would expect that Morant will come out against the Knicks like he’s been shot out of a cannon.
The Knicks are a solid defensive team, ranking 12th league-wide, per Cleaning the Glass. But their Achilles heel has been, and continues to be, containing dribble penetration. Kemba Walker gives mostly good effort, but his persistent knee issues have changed the equation on his defense from "sometimes passable" to "mostly disastrous." The athletic disparity between he and Morant could not be more stark.
There is just no way that Kemba stands a chance at containing Morant, and the Grizzlies can neutralize the Knicks rim protection at will by playing Jaren Jackson Jr. at the five.
RJ BARRETT OVER/UNDER 19.5 POINTS
RJ Barrett has just finished arguably his strongest month as a pro. In January, Barrett averaged 21.8 points 6.0 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. His 3-point shooting has come back around, at 40.2% for the month and trending toward league average on the season. But beyond the raw numbers, it’s the way he’s getting things done for New York that has given Knicks fans a small beacon of hope in an otherwise lost year.
RJ has stepped up as a primary offensive weapon for the Knicks, initiating a huge amount of pick and rolls, maniacally attacking the rim, and drawing free throw attempts at a star level. During games where it seems that nobody among the Knicks starters has anything going, RJ is the closest thing they have to a steady hand on offense.
He had a down outing last game, going just 4-14 from the floor and 1-8 from 3, but there’s no reason to think that will happen against the Grizzlies. While Memphis is one of the better defensive teams in the NBA, the Grizzlies are still missing their best defensive matchup for RJ in Dillon Brooks. Morant is exploitable on defense and Desmond Bane, despite being a good defender, has a negative wingspan - RJ meanwhile is 6’6” with a 6’10” reach.
Barrett has shown to be ruthless when he gets smaller guards on him in cross-match situations, either in transition or out of the pick and roll. Even if the Knicks as a whole struggle to score against Memphis, Barrett should find success given his physical advantages over the Grizzlies' guards.
DESMOND BANE OVER/UNDER 2.5 3-POINTERS MADE
As a draft philosophy, I’m a big believer in taking guys with one elite skill and seeing if they can figure the rest of it out well enough for that skill to translate in the NBA. Bane’s elite skill is shooting, and I’d say the rest of it has worked out pretty darn well in year two.
He’s gone from a tertiary bench option in terms of usage last year (14.7%) to a bona fide starting contributor (21.4%), and opposing teams have grown to fear him from behind the arc. Bane is shooting 42.0% from 3 on 6.9 attempts per game, and an increasing number of them are self-created shots, too. He makes the perfect catch and shoot partner for Ja. As Morant rumbles to the basket and the defense collapses, Bane slides into position in the corner or on the wing and rains death off of Morant’s kick-outs.
The Knicks continue to allow more opponent 3-point attempts than all but a handful of teams. Bane should make that a painful proposition tonight.