WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
HOW TO WATCH: Fox Sports Southeast/ 92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS- Mike Conley (Out, Left Heel), Andrew Harrison (Questionable, Right Wrist), Chandler Parsons (Questionable, Rest), Mario Chalmers (Questionable, Right Hamstring)
DENVER- Tyler Lydon (Out, Knee), Gary Harris (Questionable, Right Leg)
MEMPHIS- Tyreke Evans, Dillon Brooks, Jarell Martin, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
DENVER- Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Wilson Chandler, Paul Millsap, Nikola Jokic
Happy St. Patricks’s Day to All! It is the day that people make it ok to have that one extra drink you normally wouldn’t have because we all have that little bit of Irish in us. But what goes great with a Jameson and Ginger? Grizzlies basketball battling off a 20-game losing streak!
The Grizzlies have a Saturday night matchup with the Denver Nuggets in the Forum. As alluded to, Memphis is currently on a 19-game skid with no end in sight. These home crowds have been quite bleak over the past few weeks, but that is nothing to be surprised about. Hopefully, a St. Patty’s Day Saturday crowd will bring the most from the Memphis community to will the Grizzlies to finally win one.
The team comes into this one after an incredible loss to the Bulls Thursday night. It took an interference call at the buzzer for the Grizzlies to lose that one. As site manager Joe Mullinax put it perfectly on GBB Live, it is almost exciting each night to see what new ways the Grizzlies will lose games down the stretch.
For this one, the Denver Nuggets are sitting at the 10-seed right now only one game out of the West Playoffs has that logjam has yet to clear itself. They won their last game Thursday night at home against the Pistons. This game will start a 7-game road trip for them which is crazy this late in the season.
These two teams have faced each other three other times this year, and the Nuggets have won all three of those games. Look for this one to be the same, unless the Grizzlies can dig deep for a win. Denver is in a must-win mentality down the stretch and will fight even harder against weaker competition.
Even as the tank is a good thing, now I just want these guys to get a win. It hurts watching dejected players give post-game speeches after so much losing. These players want it badly. It is just becoming very tough to win with a depleted roster.
These are the two things to note going into Tuesday night:
Jokic vs. Gasol. The Battle of the Big Man
This is a matchup that everyone should be excited to watch. Nikola Jokic vs. Marc Gasol in the battle down low. Both of these guys are a type of unicorn big man with more fineness than strong post up moves. They space the floor and have a unique passing ability that sets them apart from others in the league. This is 100% what to watch for heading into this matchup.
Jokic is younger than Gasol, so it is fascinating to see Gasol bring his game to another level against Jokic. In the three prior games between these two teams, Gasol averaged 19.7 points per game and has a double-double in two of those games. The OG in passing big men will not let an up and comer in Jokic outplay him head to head.
Jokic is coming off two triple-doubles in the last three games. He is the standard for the Denver offense each night. However, he struggles on the defensive side. If the Grizzlies have a chance in this one, it will come from Gasol going off with others contributing.
Either way, the Gasol-Jokic battle will be the biggest highlight of this game. It is a master vs. protégé matchup in style of center play in the game today. Gasol takes pride in that and will not be outdone.
Welcoming Back Tyreke Evans (?)
Thursday night Tyreke Evans came back on the court from a nagging right rib injury. It was the game the standing-watchers were anticipating to see how Evans would impact the Grizzlies chances in games. He finished the night with 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 9 assists. It was a classic Tyreke game, but somehow still ended with a loss.
However, it will only be a matter of time until these stats will get wins for the Grizzlies. Now, it depends on how you view this, but if he does well enough it will bump Memphis from the bottom of the standings.
Tyreke has earned this opportunity. He deserves to have a platform to show off his game, so he can get paid this offseason. It is a shame it will hurt the Grizzlies chances of losing games. This is the tough dilemma which has plagued Grizzlies’ fans the back half of this season. Just sit back, relax and enjoy a good player on this Memphis roster.
My prediction for the game is a Denver win. They need this game as they fight for the playoffs. I’m not thinking it will be close either.
There may be a decent crowd on a Saturday, but it is tough to call this part of the season. If that is the case, the crowd could will the team to a win. These players deserve a win. 19 losses in a row are tough, and tanking needs to be put aside.
Gasol should dominate Jokic down low and have a great game. It will hinge on the dominance of Tyreke matched up against this Denver team. Both will have good games, but I believe the Nuggets have the offensive weapons to push them ahead.
Spread: Grizzlies N/A. As stated above, Nuggets will overpower and take the Grizzlies down. It will be high scoring, and Memphis cannot keep up with that. I’d take Denver minus the points.
Denver- 109, Memphis- 90