WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Chandler Parsons (Out, knee); Mike Conley (Probable, Hamstring) Jevon Carter (Probable, Illness); Dillon Brooks (Probable, Knee); Omri Casspi (Probable, Illness); Joakim Noah (Questionable, Heel)
CLEVELAND- David Nwaba,(Questionable, Ankle); Rodney Hood (Out, Achilles); Tristan Thompson (Out, Foot); JR Smith (Out, Attitude); John Henson (Out, Wrist); Kevin Love (Out, Toe)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr, Marc Gasol
CLEVELAND- Colin Sexton, Alec Burks, Cedi Osman, Jaron Blossomgame, Larry Nance Jr.
The Grizzlies come back home after their west coast trip to host the Cleveland Cavaliers. Memphis is trying to keep it going after their huge road win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night. It was a win they desperately needed after a rough stretch that had everyone asking many questions about the future of the team this season.
These questions are the reason that the next few games are crucial for the Grizzlies looking forward. They need to win the games they are supposed to and in convincing fashion. Tonight’s game against Cleveland is one of those games at home in front of a home crowd.
The Cavs are on a three-game losing streak after they dropped their last game against the Chicago Bulls. They are on a slide without much confidence that it will end any time soon. Cleveland is a team that looks to be tanking for a pick for next year, and this mentality could benefit the Grizzlies in this one.
Here is one thing to watch in tonight’s contest:
Running the offense through Jaren Jackson Jr.
For this game, I am only going to mention one thing to watch because there is not much analysis to take from that Cleveland team. So, because of that, it is instead more important to talk about the Grizzlies will have this game to try their new found offense to help Marc Gasol and Mike Conley. That is running the offense through Jaren Jackson Jr.
The last game against the Lakers was the perfect example of how to use Jaren Jackson Jr. to his max offensive role possible. First, the Grizzlies got him the ball in the low post over and over while he was able to exploit the thin rotations the Grizzlies were throwing out there against him.
In addition, the Grizzlies used him in isolation one-on-one against his defender creating mismatches. This is important because of how the burden is lifted off Marc and Mike to create all the offense for this team. It lets them still attract defenders, but, at the same time, it has them resting while JJJ works.
The last game was a tremendous night for Jaren Jackson Jr. It was a night where he took the game over himself and closed the night out with a three-point basket over LeBron James to end the game.
Finally, Bickerstaff finally got the message to let this kid play without a leash from the head coach. The decisions with JJJ were starting to really attract attention to himself after the losing streak continued. Luckily for J.B., this last win helped his cause a bit. The major key in this game tonight is letting Jaren Jackson attack on his own and let him play his game without constraints. With this, the Grizzlies will once again roll offensively.
With all that being said, the Grizzlies will win this game. It will be a nice break for many players after a two-day Christmas break to also not have to go long into this game as well. Memphis should go up early and continue to control the game to where the bench players will get a good amount of minutes.
I think the Grizzlies will roll offensively while also limiting the Cavaliers offense without much problem at all. Cleveland is flush with injuries and just do not have the players to create on their own to take over an NBA game.
Spread: Grizzlies -10. I am liking the Grizzlies minus the points in this one. It will be a little slower out of the gate because of the Christmas break, but in the second half the Grizzlies will go up 20 and stay there for the rest of the game. An easy cover.
Memphis- 108, Cleveland- 91