WHERE: FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
WHEN: 7:00 P.M. CT
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/NBATV/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, knee), Justise Winslow (Out, thigh), De’Anthony Melton (Out, leg), Brandon Clarke (Questionable, calf)
Indiana: Myles Turner (OUT, LT Ankle), T.J. Warren (OUT, RT Foot)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
Memphis: Ja Morant, Grayson Allen, Dillon Brooks, Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valanciunas
Indiana: Malcolm Brogdon, Caris LeVert, Justin Holliday, Edmond Sumner, Domantas Sabonis
The Memphis Grizzlies nearly escaped their four game east coast road trip with a sweep, but the Grizzlies apparently aren’t greedy. Following a collapse at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks on Friday night, the Grizzlies return home tonight to take on another Eastern Conference foe.
The Indiana Pacers haven’t been to Memphis in over 16 months (December 2nd, 2019), and are looking to steal one in Memphis and continue their road success. The Grizzlies and Pacers play very similar on both ends of the floor. Both play top notch defensively, and like push tempo off of their opponents misses as they sit in the top 10 in the NBA in pace per game.
In their last matchup, several pieces were missing from action on both sides that will face off tonight. For the Pacers, Caris LeVert will start for the Pacers, and for the Grizzlies Jonas Valanciunas will make the start, as he missed their last matchup due to Health and Safety Protocols. How do the Grizzlies protect home court tonight against a tough Pacers team?
Valanciunas’ Impact on the Boards:
Valanciunas, riding a 21 game double-double streak, missed the last matchup between Indiana and Memphis. Throughout this 21 game double-double streak, Jonas is averaging 16.6 points per game and 13.8 rebounds a game. He could swing some things in the Grizzlies favor tonight against an All-Star big man in Domantas Sabonis.
Sabonis dominated the short-handed the Grizzlies in their last matchup dropping 32 points and 13 rebounds. For Valanciunas, it’ll be challenge on the defensive end as Sabonis is a three point shooting big man as well. Valanciunas has shown this season that no matter who the big man is, his goal is to control the paint, and with a 21 double-double streak on the line, Jonas will have to dominate once again tonight at home.
A Group Effort:
Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has done a great job this season of making sure that guys are ready no matter the situation. The Grizzlies will be short handed once again tonight against Indiana.
Memphis has a top five bench unit in the NBA for a reason - guys are ready, and they’ll have to be ready again tonight. Xavier Tillman will have a huge role rebounding off the bench for the Grizzlies as the Pacers bench unit ranks 29th in the NBA in rebounds. Rebounding as a whole will be crucial for the Grizzlies.
If the Grizzlies bench can get at least 35 points as a unit, and the team as a whole tally up 40 rebounds - I like Memphis’ chances tonight against Indiana.
The Grizzlies have a bad taste in their mouth following that tough loss to the New York Knicks in overtime on Friday night. Missing free throws, and not doing the small things to win stings. This team as a whole responds, and Ja Morant just won’t let this team come out of the gates slow at FedExForum.
Grizzlies 111 Pacers 105