WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (13-8, 6-4 road) vs. New Orleans Pelicans (7-14, 5-5 home)
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Mike Conley (Out, Back), Brandan Wright (Out, Ankle), Chandler Parsons (Out, Knee), Vince Carter (Out, Hip), James Ennis (Out, Calf), Zach Randolph (Out, Bereavement)
NEW ORLEANS: Quincy Pondexter (Out, Knee), Tyreke Evans (Out, Knee/Calf)
MEMPHIS: Andrew Harrison, Tony Allen, Troy Williams, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
NEW ORLEANS: Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik
The “Nasty Nine” have led the way for the Memphis Grizzlies the past two games.
They haven’t been the prettiest basketball games, but with six key rotation players out of the lineup, you will forgive the Grizzlies for their lack of style points in their wins over the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. They pulled out the victories behind unlikely heroes (31 points against the Lakers for Troy Daniels) and through two tremendous comeback efforts. Considering the difficult schedule on the horizon for Memphis (Portland, Golden State, and Cleveland twice all within a week of each other), those wins truly are massive, and any game they can pull out is massive at this point.
That trend carries on tonight, as the Grizzlies roll down to the Big Easy to take on a New Orleans Pelicans team that is on the second night of a back to back. They lost Sunday night against the Oklahoma City
Russell Westbrooks Thunder and they are off to another slow start this season at 7-14. But make no mistake, this New Orleans team is capable of knocking off these Grizzlies. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and the return of Jrue Holiday has given New Orleans a shot of energy.
In order for Memphis to pull off another tough victory, they must focus on the following:
- REBOUND THE ROCK - New Orleans is the worst team in the NBA when it comes to getting second chance points. Memphis must take advantage of that and limit NOLA to one shot opportunity by cleaning the glass. If JaMychal Green and Jarell Martin have big rebounding numbers, things should be going well for the Grizzlies.
- MAKE THEM BEAT YOU FROM RANGE - The Pelicans are also the worst in the NBA when it comes to three-point shooting at 31.6% from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies should pack the area in and around the paint and dare the Pelicans to chuck some shots from downtown.
- LIMIT ANTHONY DAVIS - You aren’t going to stop Anthony Davis. Last night against the Thunder, “The Brow” had 30 points and 10 rebounds...with 17 minutes left in the game. Memphis doesn’t have a player capable of shutting him down for an entire game. What they can do, however, is force Davis to kick out and make the Solomon Hills and E’Twaun Moores of the world make shots to beat you.
This game screams loss for the Grizzlies. New Orleans has given Memphis problems in the past when they were healthy, and with Holiday back the Pelicans now have a capable Robin to Davis’ Batman. What the Grizzlies have on their side in this one, however, is the fact that the Pelicans are on the second game of the back to back. NOLA is 2-3 so far this season in that second game, and those two wins took Herculean efforts from Davis (38 points and 16 rebounds vs. Charlotte, 45 points and 10 rebounds vs. Minnesota) to get the job done.
If (a big if) the Grizzlies can find a way to slow The Brow, they have a shot. Can the “Nasty Nine” pull off another ugly victory? My gut tells me it’ll be another ugly, close win...but I am not very confident in that prediction.
Memphis 97, New Orleans 95