WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis, TN
Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks (Out, left wrist), Kyle Anderson (Questionable, right calf)
Heat: Bam Adebayo (Questionable, knee), Kyle Lowry (Questionable, elbow), Victor Oladipo (Out, knee), Marcus Garrett (Out, G League)
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, De’Anthony Melton, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
Miami: Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, Jimmy Butler, PJ Tucker, Bam Adebayo
The Memphis Grizzlies return to FedExForum, 10 days after their first and only home game of the season – a win over the Cleveland Cavs.
In case you missed it, during a 4-game West Coast road swing, the Grizzlies bookended the trip with wins against two legit contenders in the West in the Clippers and Warriors, and almost knocking off a third in a three point loss to the Lakers. And oh, by the way, Ja Morant made the media rounds and put the entire league on notice that he is a legit superstar by averaging 29 points and 8 assists during that four game run.
It doesn’t get easier for the Grizzlies, as the Heat, who also have title aspirations roll into town. The big offseason acquisition for them, point guard Kyle Lowry, has fit in seamlessly. The Heat have won 4 of their first 5.
Miami will be playing the second night of a back-to-back and tonight’s game is also the first of a 15-game stretch where the Heat will be playing 11 on the road. It will be interesting to see how Coach Erik Spoelstra handles the roster. While I’m sure it would be nice to get a win to start off the stretch, he did hint at the possibility of resting players before last night’s game against Charlotte. But, as of now, it looks like everyone is playing.
Here are a couple of keys to the game for the Grizzlies to move to 2-0 at home.
SET THE TONE
Both teams are in the middle of the pack in the NBA when it comes to PACE, but Miami and Memphis feast on opposite ends of the floor. The Heat have the league’s top defense, while the Grizzlies have a top 5 offense and sit 7th in PPG. It’s also worth noting that while the Grizzlies have scored 100+ points in all but one game, the Heat have only allowed more than 100 points in one game, which was an OT loss to Indiana.
It’s pretty simple, as Ja goes, so do the Grizzlies. The only game where the Grizzlies scored less than 100, Ja had a season low of 17 points. We also saw this early in the win over the Warriors. Once Ja got cooking in the second half, the Grizzlies erased a 10 point halftime deficit to win in OT. Some of this can be attributed to Jaren Jackson Jr.’s struggles on the offensive end early on. Desmond Bane has been the Grizzlies number two scorer so far, but he doesn’t have the explosive potential that Triple J does. Could this be the one that JJJ finally breaks out?
CONTAIN THE STARS
This game is one of the ones where you most miss Dillon Brooks. That’s because Jimmy Butler is going to be a problem. Butler is a little too big for Melton, and I’m not sure Bane will be able to keep up with him.
The Grizzlies will also have a similar problem when it comes to Bam Adebayo, as he could be a problem for either Adams or Jaren. The Grizzlies have been noticeably better on defense with Jaren on the floor this season, so it’s important that Jaren stay out of foul trouble. If that’s the case, I do think it’s possible to keep Bam in check.
Bam and Butler combined for 58 points and 29 rebounds in last night’s win over Charlotte, and that simply cannot happen if you want to win. They have plenty of other guys that can score too, but you rather have those guys try and beat you than the two stars that carry the Heat.
Final Prediction: Grizzlies 107, Miami 102