WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum Memphis, Tennessee
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Fox Sports Southeast/NBA League Pass/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
Memphis: Jaren Jackson Jr. (left knee meniscus surgery recovery, OUT).
Denver: Gary Harris (Thigh, OUT), RJ Hampton (Health and Safety Protocols, OUT), Paul Millsap (Knee, QUESTIONABLE), JaMychal Green (Shoulder, QUESTIONABLE)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
Denver: Jamal Murray, Will Barton, Michael Porter Jr., Monte Morris, Nikola Jokic
40 games in 68 nights will feature a lot of these games for the Memphis Grizzlies. Playing a team like the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, then following that up with a Denver Nuggets team tonight at FedEx Forum. From bottom of the East, to one of the top teams in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies second half schedule isn’t forgiving at all, but capitalizing on what they can control throughout this sprint to the finish will separate the Grizzlies.
Tonight, the Grizzlies get another rotation player back off of the injury list in Grayson Allen, whom sat out the last four games in concussion protocol. With Allen returning, Jenkins is put in a unique situation regarding his starting lineup and rotation. Both Bane and Allen have played well when given the starting nod. While Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins Jenkins tends to lean on Allen in that starting role, I could also see Jenkins easing Allen back into things tonight against Denver.
[Start Desmond Bane, you cowards.]
The Nuggets come into tonight’s matchup against the Grizzlies riding a four game winning streak. Two of the better assisting teams in the NBA offensively, how do the Grizzlies snap the Nuggets streak and create a winning streak of their own?
Contain the Joker - Nikola Jokic is arguably the best Center in the NBA due to his playmaking and versatility at the center position. While it is impossible to shut down Jokic, Valanciunas will have to defend the pick n’ pop with Murray and Jokic. Valanciunas will have to be huge for the Grizzlies on the defensive end attempting to neutralize Jokic from beyond the arch. Jokic is shooting a career-high 3.7 three point attempts a game this season on 41 percent shooting.
The Grizzlies, as a whole, will have to talk out defensive rotations as the Joker can create for others as he is having another career season in the assist category at 8.6 a game for the Nuggets this season as well.
Push, push, push! - On Wednesday night the Grizzlies moved the ball really well. Racking up 31 assists in their win vs. the Wizards, and trusting one another to make the right play. The Grizzlies will have to move a lot on the offensive end to get one another open, as the Nuggets are one of the better defensive teams in the NBA.
The Grizzlies sit tied third in the NBA for assists as a team this season, and pushing the pace of the game could benefit the Grizzlies. A lot of Memphis’ assist come off transition buckets, and while the Grizzlies sit 10th in the NBA in pace per game, the Nuggets sit in 25th. If the Grizzlies speed the Nuggets up, Memphis could make this their game.
Final Score Prediction - Grizzlies 111, Nuggets 115