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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets Game Preview

So we meet again

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Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

WHO: Denver Nuggets (4-3, 2-2 on road) @ Memphis Grizzlies (4-3, 2-1 home)

WHEN: 7:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis, TN

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURIES:

Grizzlies: Dillon Brooks (Out, left wrist)

DENVER: Jamal Murray (Out, knee), Vlatko Cancar (Out, hip)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, De’Anthony Melton, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams

DENVER: Monte Morris, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Nikola Jokic


Long time no see.

In what has now become common, the Memphis Grizzlies will play the Denver Nuggets again in the second game of a two-game series.

The NBA started these two-game series last season in order to cut down on travel. And honestly, I don’t hate it. The Grizzlies will be looking to sweep this early-season home series against reigning MVP Nikola Jokic.

The Grizzlies walked away with the win in Monday night’s game, thanks to some big help from the bench along with another huge effort from Ja Morant.

Will a sweep be in the cards for the Grizz? Let’s take a look at the some of the key’s to winning tonight’s game.

2021-22 Memphis Grizzlies Media Day Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Two of a Kind

Tyus Jones had a heck of a night Monday, tying a career-high in made three-pointers in a game with 5. We even saw some extended minutes featuring Tyus and Ja Morant on the floor together. I do know that this duo does not always work well together, but this is a different Ja. He is focused and has that killer instinct, and when he plays off the ball, he’s able to move around without the defense focused on him the entire possession. It also gives the Grizzlies options to throw a few different looks at the other team on the offensive end.

I have seen the comparisons between Ja and Allen Iverson, and keep in mind that Iverson did switch from PG to SG in his third year in the league. He would win the scoring title 3 of the next 4 seasons, and picked up an MVP during that stretch. I’m not suggesting Ja should make a full switch to the 2-guard, but against a team like Denver, it’s ok to see Ja get some run at the 2, whether it’s Tyus or Kyle Anderson taking over the ball-handling duties.

Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

All In

The Grizzlies returned to what made them successful last year – bench scoring (43-34), winning the rebound battle (55-40), and dominating in the paint (58-40). In all 7 of the Nuggets games this season, the rebounding battle and the game result were the same — you outrebound Denver, you get the W.

Things aren’t going to be as easy though – Nuggets Head Coach Michael Malone said after Monday’s loss that some guys had no energy, so I would expect some of them to answer the call and give more effort tonight.

Denver Nuggets v Memphis Grizzlies Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

Remove the Joker from the Deck

It’s simple and not surprising – the Denver Nuggets are a way better team when reigning MVP Nikola Jokic is on the floor. In fact, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Nuggets are +80 in the 213 minutes he’s played this season, and -62 in the 123 minutes he’s been on the bench. Monday night, he was even while on the court and the Nuggets -9 with him off the court.

What the Grizzlies will need to do – as hard as it is, is try and neutralize Jokic when he is in the game and make either Michael Porter Jr. or Aaron Gordon try and beat you.

One Final Thing

The Grizzlies debut this season’s Nike NBA City Edition Uniforms, and once again, they knock it out of the park.

Final Prediction: Grizzlies 117, Denver 113

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