WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (3-4, 3-1 home) vs. Denver Nuggets (3-3, 3-2 road)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis- Brandan Wright (Out, Ankle), Mike Conley (Questionable, Hamstring), Tony Allen (Questionable, Groin)
Denver- Will Barton (Questionable, Ankle), Wilson Chandler (Questionable, Hamstring)
GRIZZLIES - Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Chandler Parsons, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
NUGGETS - Emmanuel Mudiay, Gary Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic
A 1-2 home stand is not ideal, and that is what the Memphis Grizzlies are currently sitting at on their recent stretch of games in the supposedly friendly confines of FedExForum. They are continuing to struggle offensively as they adjust to the new schemes of head coach David Fizdale, and the debut of Chandler Parsons didn’t go as swimmingly as one would hope (he didn’t make a single shot) as Memphis lost to the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday afternoon.
What’s worse than a 1-2 home stand? A 1-3 home stand. That’s a real possibility as the Denver Nuggets, a young, deep team, come to FedExForum tonight. The Nuggets are 10 or 11 deep, with a solid mix of youth and experience, size and athleticism. They are led in scoring by Will Barton at 18 points per game, but Denver has nine players who so far in this young season average seven or more points per game. The Memphis Grizzlies, by comparison, only have five.
How can the Grizzlies get going and split this four game home stand before heading out on the road for four games? Two things to look for tonight.
Advancing the Parsons Project
If health weren’t a concern, surely Chandler Parsons would be that sixth scorer over seven points per game and then some. But as Grizzlies fans have learned the hard way, injuries are a real pain. Parsons’ shot was all sorts of off in the Blazers game, and while he looked to get more into the flow of the offense as the game went on Sunday, he simply was not able to score.
That cannot happen if Memphis hopes to stay in the playoff hunt out west. It’s easy to say that there is plenty of basketball left to be played (because, well, there is), but this will be the eighth game of the season for the Grizzlies. As November grinds along, Chandler must find his stroke and be a threat for Memphis, even in his limited minutes as he gets back in game shape and tests that knee.
Look for better form shooting and more comfort on the court for Chandler tonight. In the first game, getting out of it healthy was the greatest goal. Now? A bucket or two would be nice.
More From the Fathers of Grit and Grind
If only it were possible to combine players together. If you could take the defensive acumen of Tony Allen and pair it with the offensive stylings of Zach Randolph, you would have yourself one hell of a basketball player.
But unfortunately, this is not something that can be done. TA, who especially against Portland showed off some of his “First Team” defensive skills, is shooting 29.6% from the field so far this season. Zach Randolph, who still looks the part of a Sixth Man of the Year Award candidate, must be thankful that recognition does not include the ability to defend the pick and roll. Teams are looking to attack Zach every chance they get because he can’t defend those sets well at all anymore - Coach Fizdale has acknowledged it, and everyone knows it.
This is not a call for these guys to be something more than they can physically be. It is a hope that the Grizzlies, starting with Fizdale himself, start to try to help these guys out. Get Tony Allen slashing and setting screens - sitting him in the corner and asking him to create is not a good idea. Allow for Zach to get help on the pick and roll by having a Deyonta Davis or Jarell Martin nearby. While these two are not JaMychal Green in terms of complete games, they have either size (Davis) or the athleticism/foot speed (Martin) to potentially make Z-Bo’s life a bit easier. Brandan Wright’s return (maybe tonight, probably later) may assist with this as well.
Zach and Tony, as long as they are in Memphis, will likely remain key rotation cogs. Fizdale and company must do their best to put them in positions to be successful.
The Nuggets are coming off blasting the Boston Celtics, an Eastern Conference contender. The Grizzlies have lost two straight games against Western Conference playoff teams. This has all the makings of a downward trend for Memphis...
In this place is usually where the Grizzlies respond.
Mike Conley will challenge Emmanuel Mudiay early and often, Marc Gasol will continue his stretch of trying to abuse Jusuf Nurkic because of him doing things like this...
The NBA's newest goon- 20 year old Jusuf Nurkic aka The Bosnian Bear. Tough as nails. Watch him sneer at Marc Gasolhttps://t.co/kgTZ5Fg7OV— Tich Mabiza (@TheAssistMan) February 5, 2015
And the two best players on the Memphis Grizzlies will lead them to a close win to help them go 2-2 on this home stand.
MEMPHIS 104, DENVER 99