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, Left Thigh Soreness), Ziaire Williams (Out, Right Knee Soreness), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, Right Foot Surgery Recovery), Danny Green (Out, Left Knee Surgery Recovery)
Dallas: Seth Curry (Out, Left Ankle), T.J. Warren (Out, Left Foot)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams
Dallas: Ben Simmons, Kyrie Irving, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
Coming off their first loss of the season in blowout fashion at the Dallas Mavericks, the Grizzlies return home to face off against the Brooklyn Nets. Brooklyn is looking to begin a streak after winning their first game Friday at home against the Toronto Raptors. As with any new season and injuries being applied, these teams will look a bit different going up against each other from the last matchup last season in March. As you will remember, that was the game when the Grizzlies had ESPN All-Access and defeated the Nets 132-120 without Ja Morant.
Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins mentioned before the Houston Rockets game last Friday night that they were going to ease Dillon Brooks back into back-to-back’s. Considering he was upgraded to questionable before Saturday’s against the Dallas Mavericks and keeps the same injury designation heading into the Brooklyn game, it is safe to assume he has a good shot at playing tonight.
With the Grizzlies playing their 4th game in 6 nights with a shorthanded team against a potential NBA title contender, how can the Grizzlies bounce back from their first loss of the season?
Desmond Bane having a breakout game:
So far this season Desmond Bane is averaging 14 points per game on 26.5% shooting and 28.6% shooting from 3. That is not good especially for a player a lot of people were projecting to take another step forward.
I live by the phrase that “shooters shoot,” so I am not too worried about his performance so far because it is just a shooting slump. Defenses are keying in on him more with Jaren Jackson Jr and Dillon Brooks being out over the first 3 games as well.
The Grizzlies will need him to, at least, get back to his 2021-2022 form to pull off another above .500 week again this week. I believe this game against a struggling Brooklyn defense (Rank 25th in PPG and 3-Point %) will provide the perfect opportunity for Bane to snap out of his slump and get rolling.
Currently, the Grizzlies’ bench is averaging 38 points per game in their first 3 games. The bench was a strength last year (38.9 points per game), and they haven’t lost a step this season despite the loss of Kyle Anderson and De’Anthony Melton. Ziaire Williams has missed the first 3 games this season, and the absence of Dillon Brooks has forced John Konchar into the starting lineup, leading to a different bench unit.
They will have to continue trending in the right direction against a Brooklyn Nets bench that has scored 54 total points this season in 2 games. The potential return of Dillon Brooks will help the bench unit with John Konchar making his return to the unit.
I expect this game to be a track meet of sorts. Ben Simmons and Ja Morant are transition guards that like to run on the open floor and generate easy baskets for themselves (in Ja’s case) and their teammates.
If Dillon Brooks does indeed return, that gives the Grizzlies a huge boost in terms of their defense and another offensive option besides Ja Morant that can create his shot. Even if Dillon doesn’t return, I expect Desmond Bane and the Grizzlies bench to provide the extra spark needed to pull off a tough victory against Kevin Durant and Co.
Memphis 123, Brooklyn 118
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