WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Dillon Brooks (Out), Chandler Parsons (Out)
NEW ORLEANS- Elfrid Payton (Out)
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley, Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson, Jaren Jackson Jr., Marc Gasol
NEW ORLEANS- Tim Frazier, Jrue Holiday, Solomon Hill, Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Davis
The Grizzlies get back into the action Friday night in New Orleans against the Pelicans. After a huge win at FedExForum against the Clippers, the Grizzlies are looking to take their success on the road against the always competitive Pelicans. They are, of course, led by Anthony Davis and are coming off a win of their own on Wednesday night against the Mavericks.
The Pelicans are a very Jekyll and Hyde team. You just never know what version of them you will get on a given night. The one stat that stands out for them is their home and away splits. At home, they are 10-3 with a 117.6 offensive rating, and, on the road, they are a new team with a record of 3-10 and a 109.1 offensive rating. Unfortunately, the Grizzlies will be on the road against them Friday, but the Grizzlies will play the defense to bring down their offensive production no matter the setting.
The Grizzlies need to come out and silence this crowd early. Wednesday was a huge team performance to defeat one of the best teams currently in the West. Now, they will have to focus on coming into a hostile New Orleans crowd on a Friday night and play their basketball. As always, it is all about defense. Cut down on the offense from the Pelicans and win at their pace. Should be a good one tonight.
Here is one thing to note before tonight’s matchup:
Anthony Davis vs. The Grizzlies
Before I go into this, let me just preface with the fact that it is damn near impossible to stop or even limit Anthony Davis. What I mean by this title is more along the lines of if the Grizzlies can zero on controlling him from having a monster game, the Grizzlies have a much better shot at winning. That goes without saying, but the other talent on this roster is not beating you straight up in a game.
The backcourt consists of Jrue Holliday, Tim Frazier, and flashes of E’Twaun Moore (who has actually played very well for them this season). Those three will not beat you single-handily if Anthony Davis does not have a good game.
Anthony Davis is averaging 27.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assist per game. He is coming off a season high with 9 assists in their last game against the Mavericks. The dude does it all for the team and is the reason why he is one of the top 3 players in the NBA. Plus, to top it all off, he is shooting a career high from three at 35.7%.
Outside of the obvious challenges, it will be fascinating to watch the frontcourt defending of Davis throughout this game. We have seen Marc Gasol on him before, but it will be great to see Jaren Jackson Jr. defending him in this one. It will probably be the toughest defensive tests Jackson will see all year, and he will have to try and limit his fouls as much as possible. Davis will be working him all night when they are matched up. It will be on Jaren to be aware of his limitations against a player of Davis’s caliber.
My prediction is that the Grizzlies will win this one, but it will be close all the way through. The Grizzlies have a strategy this season that is completely flipping teams on their heads. They do not know how to do the counter of the normal fast pace that they are used to. We saw it against the high scoring Clippers and will see it here against the Pelicans who score a lot at home.
Anthony Davis will still put up 30 points and 10 rebounds, but he will not get enough contributions from the rest of the squad to get them another home win. Memphis will slow it all down and knock them out of their rhythm. Jaren Jackson will struggle again in foul trouble after Davis introduces him into the league. But, it will not matter as the Grizzlies will have Marc Gasol step up and contribute with 25 points and 10 rebounds, with Conley throwing in 15 of his own. That is what I see happening tonight. A concerning start ends in a Grizzlies win after a second half explosion by Conley or Gasol.
Spread: New Orleans -4.5. Take the Grizzlies Moneyline in this one. I really like how the team is playing, and I do not like the question marks outside of Anthony Davis on the Pelicans side. If you want to play it safe just take the points, but either way, I do believe it will be close all the way through.
Memphis- 107, New Orleans- 105