WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Brandon Clarke (Out, calf), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, knee), Sean McDermott (Out, shoulder), De’Anthony Melton (Out, shoulder), Killian Tillie (Out, foot), Justise Winslow (Out, hip)
CHARLOTTE: Devonte Graham (Out, groin)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
CHARLOTTE: LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Gordon Hayward, P.J. Washington, Cody Zeller
The Grizzlies will look to snap a 4-game losing streak as they are set to face off against the Charlotte Hornets tonight inside the uncharacteristically unfriendly confines of FedExForum. The Grizzlies being 3-7 at home and 6-3 on the road isn’t something most expected, even with then lack of fans in the stands for the majority of the season so far.
The Grizzlies have already picked up a win over the Hornets, with a dominating 108-93 performance on New Years Day. The Grizzlies will hope to replicate the success from that game to get back on track and snap their recent skid. What do the Grizzlies need to do to get back in the win column?
Play the Full 48
One of the biggest issues over the 4-game losing streak has been the Grizzlies simply not playing for the entire game. The Pacers jumped the Grizzlies and dominated from the jump, but the other 3 games all had moments where the Grizzlies lost control for just a few minutes and it cost them the game. Against Houston, the Grizzlies were down just one possession late in the first half before they fell apart in the final minutes and found themselves down double digits. The Grizzlies were up late against the Pelicans before crumbling down the stretch in the 4th. Then, against the Raptors earlier this week, the first few minutes of the 4th did the Grizzlies in. With all the injuries on the Grizzlies roster, Jenkins is fairly limited in his rotations, but he’s got to keep his young team fresh and ready to compete for the entire game.
It’s not something the team doesn’t already know though, with multiple players saying they’ve got to play a full game to get wins in this league postgame after the Raptors loss. Here’s to hoping the Grizzlies can figure it out for the entire game tonight.
Ja Morant has really struggled over the past 4 games for the Grizzlies. He’s scored just 14.8 points on 32% shooting from the field and 25% from beyond the arc. He’s also averaging over 2 turnovers per game and hasn’t been able to take over in the 4th Quarter like we’ve grown accustomed to so far in his career. Whether it’s playing off-ball with Tyus or Kyle as the main facilitator, or countering the blitzes like GBB’s Parker Fleming wrote about this morning, the Grizzlies need to get Ja back in a rhythm offensively.
Playing Ja off ball could allow for him to stay more rested in the 4th, and also let him move around and make cuts to get him some easy baskets to get going offensively. With all the injuries to the Grizzlies, opposing defenses have been able to really attack Ja and pack the paint, forcing him to take jumpers or highly contested attempts in the paint. This team typically goes as Ja goes and the Grizzlies need to get him going to get out of this rut.
The Hornets have been a much better team since putting LaMelo Ball in the starting lineup. With Ball’s steady play, alongside Gordon Hayward’s bounce back season and the steady play of the rest of the roster, the Hornets are playing much better than they were the last time these two teams faced. The Grizzlies will almost certainly Jonas Valanciunas to continue his great play since his return from COVID against a Hornets front court that isn’t the most intimidating in the world.
The Hornets are playing good basketball right now and the Grizzlies are not. Still, the Grizzlies seem determined to get back on track and look more like the team that won 7 in a row not long ago. I like the Grizzlies matchup against the Hornets, especially with the extra motivation they likely have to end the losing streak.
Grizzlies 107, Hornets 103