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17 November 2019 13:14

Kristaps Porzingis will not play Saturday night in Memphis, the second game of the Mavs' first back-to-back.

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Kristaps Porzingis, Ja Morant out for Mavericks-Grizzlies due to rest

Dallas Mavericks forward Kristaps Porzingis will not play Saturday night against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavs are on the second game of a back-to-back and the team is giving him the night off, reports ESPN's Tim MacMahon. Kristaps Porzingis will not play Saturday night in Memphis, the second game of the Mavs' first back-to-back. The official reason: injury recovery, left knee. The Mavs have been clear that they would take a cautious approach with Porzingis as he returned from a 20-month lay-off.

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Porzingis faced his former team Friday, finishing with 28 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in a 106-102 loss to the Knicks. For the Grizzlies, rookies Ja Morant (rest) and Brandon Clarke (back) will also be held out. Morant played 25 minutes in Friday's 118-86 loss to the Magic, scoring eight points with seven assists. Clarke finished with 13 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes. Ja Morant is just nine games into his NBA career, and the Memphis Grizzlies are already giving him the load management treatment.

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The No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft will sit out the second half of a back-to-back on Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks to rest. * In addition, Ja Morant (rest) also will not play. — Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) November 9, 2019 Given Morant's injury history, the team doesn't want to push their star point guard too much; he only ranks eighth among rookies at 27.5 minutes per game. Although the team did not mention it on its injury report, Morant's knee troubles are almost certainly the reason for the rest. Morant underwent minor knee surgery in July and appeared to narrowly avoid another knee injury this week.

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While load management is a controversial issue, especially with the rising cost of tickets for fans, the NBA has not totally outlawed resting healthy players. Even without back-to-back games, the Grizzlies have had a pretty packed schedule. Six of the team's eight games have come on one day of rest, which is a far cry from the spread-out college schedule Morant was used to at Murray State. Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant will miss Saturday's game due to rest. Why didn't Memphis rest Morant on Friday for a home divisional game? It may not be fun for fans paying to see their team at home, but resting Morant for an 82-game slog is probably the right call. The question becomes why they didn't rest him on the front end so that he could entertain the home crowd against a divisional rival. A cynical answer would be that the Grizzlies aren't exactly in the business of winning games at the moment. While Jaren Jackson Jr. and Morant form a nice core, they could really use Memphis native James Wiseman or another top pick to round out their rotation. However, the more truthful answer is that while the league is generally OK with resting players for the long season, they don't allow teams to rest their stars on the road. Kristaps Porzingis wanted out of New York even though he was committed to staying in the weeks prior to the trade, Ian Begley of SNY TV writes. Something led Porzingis to change his mind in January prior to the blockbuster deal with Dallas, Begley continues, and it's fair to assume that Porzingis didn't have enough faith in team president Steve Mills and others in the current regime to create a winning environment. The Knicks feared that Porzingis would accept their qualifying offer after last season and then become an unrestricted free agent next summer, which led to their decision to comply with his trade request, Begley adds. Porzingis regrets the way he reacted after the trade, per Begley: There wasn't really another way how to do it, and with all the emotions going on (during) that moment when I got traded, I put out some stupid Instagram stories laying in my bed late at night. … It got a little bit ugly, but it's in the past right now." The New York Knicks are awful. They should be giving way more points on the NBA odds board for Friday's game against the Dallas Mavericks. <div><h2 style="text-align:center"><strong>New York Knicks (1-7) vs. Dallas Mavericks (5-2)</strong></h2><p style="text-align:center"><br /><strong>Friday, November 8 at 8:30 PM ET, American Airlines Center</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NBA Pick: Mavericks –11.5 (–115) at <a href="" rel="nofollow">BetOnline</a></strong></p><p>[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3871833, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,999996,238,19,93], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</p><p>It's been a busy open at the <a href="-odds/nba-basketball/">NBA odds </a>board for Friday's matchups. We immediately identified not one, not two, but <em>three</em> games that looked ripe for the picking. The New Orleans Pelicans moved from +4 to +3 for their home game against the Toronto Raptors, and the Utah Jazz moved from +1.5 to PK for their home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.</p><p><a href="-Best-Sportsbooks"><img alt src="-production-753931602578.s3.amazonaws.com/5d951e42bcaeb7611e470a36/original-the-fastest-free-odds-product" style="width:100%" /></a></p><p>The Pellies and Jazz might still be worth adding to your <a href="/">NBA picks</a>. But now we have to turn our attention to Target No. 3, and yes – we're going to fade the New York Knicks again. That's just dumb luck, though, and there's simply too much profit margin to pass up with the Knicks (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS) only giving up 10.5 points to the Dallas Mavericks (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS) in Big D.</p><h2><strong>That Mitchell and Elfrid Look</strong></h2><p>FiveThirtyEight project the Mavericks as 14.5-point favorites for this contest, using their lovely new RAPTOR formula, so that's promising. Do they also know that Mitchell Robinson (plus-7.7 BPM) is out for New York with a concussion? Robinson is their best player; less of him means more of guys like Bobby Portis (minus-3.7 BPM).<br /><br />The second-best player on the Knicks at this point might be Elfrid Payton (minus-1.1 BPM). Nope, he's out too, having missed the last four games with a strained right hamstring. Less of him has meant more of guys like Frank Ntilikina (minus-4.7 BPM), and go figure, New York went 0-4 SU and 1-3 ATS in those four games. So much sucktitude.</p><h2><strong>KP Duty</strong></h2><p>If only the Knicks had a cornerstone franchise player to build around. Kristaps Porzingis. But maybe they were right to sell sort-of high on Porzingis after he blew out his ACL. The Unicorn has had some moments for Dallas, but his shooting touch hasn't quite returned just yet, leaving Porzingis with a minus-1.1 BPM.<br /><br />Good thing the Mavs have a second cornerstone. Luka Doncic (plus-9.3 BPM) is playing like an MVP, putting up Russell Westbrook numbers in just his second year in the NBA. And Delon Wright (plus-4.1 BPM) has fit in very nicely, although he's not going to keep hitting 60 percent of his 3-pointers. We just have to put Dallas in our picks...