WHEN: 7:00 PM CT
WHERE: FedExForum — Memphis, TN
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
MEMPHIS: Xavier Tillman (Questionable, non-COVID Illness), Desmond Bane (Out, toe), Danny Green (Out, knee), Ziaire Williams (Out, Patellar Tendinitis)
NEW YORK: Jalen Brunson (Questionable, quad), Derrick Rose (Questionable, toe), Cam Reddish (Questionable, groin, Trevor Keels and Ferron Hunt (Out, two-way transfer)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
NEW YORK: Jalen Brunson, Quentin Grimes, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson
The Memphis Grizzlies emphatically bounced back in their showdown with the New Orleans Pelicans, embodying several elements they want out of their system.
In Friday night’s win, the Grizzlies made their bread and butter in the paint and beyond the arc. 130 of their 132 points came from either 3-pointers, points in the paint, or the free throw line. That’s the model of efficiency they seek from their offense.
Adding to that, they set a tone with their physicality. They partnered a blitzing 3-point attack with a relentless inside attack fueled by Steven Adams and Ja Morant.
They also had one of their best defensive outings on the season. They only surrendered 10 three-pointers, which was huge given their recent struggles in that department.
So now it’s about sustainability and using Friday’s game to build momentum towards a groove. The Grizzlies will battle a solid New York Knicks team in this Sunday showdown. Can the Grizzlies build upon their successes from their previous victory and string together a winning streak?
Keeping the physical edge
The Memphis Grizzlies set a tone with their physicality, and it’s going to be even more crucial to maintain it in this game.
The Knicks are quite large. They start with two bigs in Mitchell Robinson and Julius Randle. Off the bench, they seek the size advantage with a rotation of Obi Toppin, Isaiah Hartenstein, and Jericho Sims.
Given this makeup, it’s going to be even more crucial to building success for the Grizzlies. Steven Adams may not have the scoring load he had in Friday’s win, but he’ll have his hands full on the glass. In addition, Jaren Jackson Jr. has found his groove inside the arc, and he’ll need to continue navigating his way into the paint with this level of poise.
Whoever wins the battle on the boards and in the paint could very well be the victor in today’s game.
Keep letting it fly
Will the Grizzlies make 18 three’s every game? Probably not, but they need to keep up this aggression when letting it fly. The Grizzlies’ ball movement was quite nice in Friday’s win, and it led to a lot of clean looks from downtown. What stood out is, it wasn’t a one-man show from 3. The other night, 6 players hit multiple 3-pointers.
The New York Knicks are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the league — ranking 29th in 3-point percentage (31.6). They do fire 3’s frequently, as they’re 10th in 3-point attempts. So the rotations will need to be crisp.
I bring up the percentage and frequency within this “letting it fly” section, because generating a 3-point advantage could go a long way in ensuring a victory. If the ball movement and looks stay as clean as they were on Friday night, they should experience a similar result in this one.
The Memphis Grizzlies showed a strong level of poise and urgency in their win on Friday night, and it seems sustainable. The Knicks provide a great test for them, given their size and physicality.
There isn’t enough evidence from either side that sways me from thinking the Grizzlies should win this game today.
Final score prediction: Grizzlies - 115, Knicks - 103
Make sure you listen to our newest podcast ‘Grizzly Bear Bets’ for betting guidance for every single Grizzlies game this season.