WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Dillon Brooks (questionable, hamstring), De’Anthony Melton (Out, groin), Sam Merrill (Out, ankle)
UTAH: OG Anunoby (questionable, hip) Precious Achiuwa (questionable, shoulder) Yuta Watanabe (questionable, calf)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
TORONTO: Fred VanVleet, Gary Trent Jr, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, Khem Birch
The rollercoaster of a .500 team and season can be quite the emotional ride. Trying to explain the Grizzlies previous road trip is down right impossible. Losing by 43 to an inferior team, albeit shorthanded, to then turn around and beat a phenomenal offense that booted you from the playoffs the year prior, is a script that only makes sense to Grizz fans who have lived through maddening seasons of mediocrity.
Mediocrity is not a word that this team nor its fanbase are satisfied with. Spoiled by the Grit and Grind era and now the Grizz Next Gen, Memphis expects more of the Utah wins and less of the New Orleans and Minnesota losses. Toronto is a tough defense that will be another good test for the Grizz. With the return of Dillon possible, Taylor Jenkins and crew will look to distance themselves from the team that failed to show in Minnesota.
Keys to the Game
- Jaren Jackson Jr.: The Memphis Grizzlies are 7-1 when JJJ plays 28+ minutes. They are also 7-1 when he plays 28 minutes, hits 3 threes and grabs at least 6 boards. Grizz are 8-2 when Jaren grabs 6 rebounds and 9-3 when he hits 2 or more threes. Finally in the 8 games Jaren plays more than 28 minutes, he is a +76 overall.
- FVV and GTJ: There is no secret that the Grizzlies struggle to defend on the perimeter and Toronto presents a talented backcourt in Fred Van Vleet and Gary Trent Jr., with perhaps Rookie of the Year favorite Scottie Barnes also on the wing.
- Aggressive Ja: Passive Ja is not a Ja that the Grizzlies need in order to win. When he shoots the ball at least 20 times this season, the Grizzlies are 6-2. Maybe even more surprising Memphis is 0-3 when he nets 10+ assists in a game. This team rides and dies on the highs and lows of Ja Morant.
Did the Grizzlies find something Monday night in Utah? Will they carry over that moxie or bring the same Minnesota over confidence? Memphis in all likelihood will finish very close to a .500 team, which can equivocate to win one, lose one, so predicting what Memphis will do on any given night has become a crapshoot.
Memphis will get their energy leader in Dillon back and do just enough to hold off Toronto:
Memphis 108 Toronto 102