There are reports out there that Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger is in major trouble, to the point that if the Grizzlies lose at home to Washington on Monday night that Joerger could be canned as early as Tuesday. The Grizz have been disappointments at 13-12 entering the week. Memphis is now being outscored by 5.2 points per game, fourth worst in the Western Conference. Joerger made a curious move Saturday in bringing Tony Allen and Zach Randolph off the bench (Allen fine, but Randolph?). The Grizzlies trotted out starting lineup of Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Jeff Green, Matt Barnes and Marc Gasol. Alas, the team blew a double-digit lead and lost to Miami. Joerger says he's going to stay with that lineup for a while. You know, if he has a job.
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Cavaliers at Celtics (+2, 200.5)
Wonder if there will be a bit of retribution in this game on Boston's Kelly Olynyk. The Celtics' big man got tangled up with Cleveland's Kevin Love in last year's first-round playoff series and dislocated Love's shoulder, which knocked him out of the rest of the postseason. Love was understandably angry at Olynyk for a while after, calling it a bush-league move. If you've seen the play, it's hard to tell if Olynyk had any ill intent, but he did appear to yank Love's arm while they were fighting for the loose ball. Apparently the two have patched things up since, however. This is the first time the teams have played since then. Cleveland has won two straight and saw guard Iman Shumpert make his season debut in Friday's 111-76 blowout win in Orlando. Shumpert had 14 points. Now it appears that fellow guard Kyrie Irving could make his season debut later this week, but not likely Tuesday. Another Cavs guard, J.R. Smith, missed the Orlando game with an illness but should play here. There could be some payback on Boston's side here too. Celtics swingman Jae Crowder saw his season end when he sprained his left ACL after a vicious backhand from Smith in Game 4 of that playoff series. Crowder said Monday that he expects an apology from Smith, who was ejected and suspended for two games for the incident but has apparently not apologized to Crowder.
Key trends: The Cavs are 2-7 against the spread in their past nine road games. Boston is 6-0-1 ATS in its past seven overall. The "over/under" has gone under in six of the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Celtics and under.
Nuggets at Timberwolves (-5.5, 204)
Denver hosted Houston on Monday. The Nuggets are going to be without one of the preseason betting favorites for Rookie of the Year for a while in guard Emmanuel Mudiay. He sprained his ankle on Friday night against these Wolves and didn't play Monday. He's probably out at least a week. He averages 10.7 points and 5.7 assists per game. Veteran Jameer Nelson is expected to get the start in his place. Minnesota lost a second straight Sunday, 108-101 in Phoenix. The Wolves committed 25 turnovers, which led to 43 Phoenix points. When these teams met in Denver on Friday, the Nuggets won 111-108 in overtime. Danilo Gallinari hit a 3-pointer to put Denver ahead late in OT and the Nuggets overcame an 18-point deficit in the second half. Nelson had a season-high 20 points with Mudiay missing the second half.
Key trends: Denver is 1-5 ATS in the past six vs. the West. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in Minnesota.
Early lean: Wolves and over.
Rockets at Kings (-2.5, 220)
Houston was in Denver on Monday looking for a third straight win. Sacramento has been off since a 99-97 win over the Knicks last Thursday. Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 12 assists and one of the better dunks we've seen this season. DeMarcus Cousins had 27 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who have just their second winning streak of the season. Rondo is suspended this game for allegedly making a gay slur to a referee during a Dec. 3 game in Mexico City. And that referee, Bill Kennedy, confirmed on Monday that he is gay. Rondo is averaging 12.6 points, a league-leading 11 assists and 6.9 rebounds. He also leads the league in triple-doubles with four. Darren Collison will start in his place. Houston has won two high-scoring games vs. the Kings this season.
Key trends: The Rockets are 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings. The over is 4-0 in the past four.
Early lean: Rockets and over.
Bucks at Lakers (+2.5, 197)
This could be a huge letdown game for Milwaukee as it's off a 108-95 win Saturday over Golden State, the first team to beat the Warriors this season. Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double. Perhaps somewhat ironically, the Bucks franchise also snapped the longest winning streak in NBA history, the 33-gamer by the Lakers in 1971-72. The Bucks again played without injured guards Jerryd Bayless and Greivis Vasquez due to ankle injuries, and they won't play Tuesday. Los Angeles returns home from a season-high eight-game road trip and L.A. lost the final six of those. Kobe Bryant shot over .500 from the field for this first time this season in Saturday's defeat in Houston. Guard Jordan Clarkson missed his second straight in that one with a sprained right ankle.
Key trends: The Bucks are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a win. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the past seven meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six in L.A.
Early lean: Lakers and under.
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