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Memphis Grizzlies vs. Washington Wizards Game Preview

The Grizzlies look to continue their winning ways as they welcome the Wizards to Memphis.

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NBA: Washington Wizards at Memphis Grizzlies Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: Memphis Grizzlies (6-3, 3-0 home) vs. Washington Wizards (4-5, 2-2 road)

WHEN: 5:00 PM CT

WHERE: FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN

HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis

INJURY REPORT:

MEMPHIS: Ziaire Williams (Out, Patellar Tendinitis) Jaren Jackson Jr. (Out, Right Foot Surgery Recovery), Danny Green (Out, Left Knee Surgery Recovery)

Washington: Delon Wright (Out, Hamstring)

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:

MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams

CHARLOTTE: Monte Morris, Bradley Beal, Anthony Gill, Kyle Kuzma, Kristaps Porzingis

It may seem pretty hard to believe, but the Memphis Grizzlies will play their tenth game of the season on Sunday against the Washington Wizards. The start of the of the NBA season has gone by quickly, but thankfully, the Grizzlies have done a good job of consistently playing productive basketball, especially on the offensive end. That has resulted in a 6-3 record to start the season.

To add to the positivity, Memphis is coming off arguably its best offensive performance of the season on Friday against the Hornets in a 130-99 win. The surprising thing is that it was not another historic night offensively for Ja Morant and Desmond Bane. It actually was the contributions from the rest of the roster, especially Dillon Brooks and Steven Adams. While Morant and Bane will likely carry the bulk of the offensive load on most nights, it is refreshing to know that rest of the Grizzlies will step up to support when needed.

The Grizzlies will welcome the Washington Wizards to the Fedex Forum on Sunday Afternoon. After starting out 3-1 on the season, the Wizards have lost four of their last five games, including a 32 point loss to Brooklyn on Friday night. The Wizards have had their struggles on both sides of the ball, and star Bradley Beal has yet to find his groove offensively. He currently is averaging his lowest scoring output (21.6 ppg) since the 2015-2016 season. Along with many of the younger talents on the Wizards roster also continuing to develop slowly, there is simply not many options for Washington to rely on offensively outside of Beal, Kristaps Porzingus, and Kyle Kuzma.

This is a game that the Grizzlies should he able to take control of early and earn another needed win. However, this will require the offense to stay strong and the defense to make plays early as it did on Friday night. Here are a few keys to help Memphis get another victory:

Prioritize the Three

Many are starting to recognize the increased emphasis that Memphis has placed on effectively shooting threes. And the early results are quite encouraging. As of Saturday, Memphis is 10th in the league in three pointers made per game and third in 3P%. It is a big reason why Memphis has featured one of the NBA’s best offenses so far this season.

Numbers clearly indicate that the Grizzlies should continue featuring the three as much as possible against Washington. As of Saturday, the Wizards were 25th in the league in 3P% and second to last in three pointers attempted per game. Perhaps even more significant is that Washington is allowing the highest OPP 3P% in the NBA so far this season. Through nine games, the Wizards have made 39 less threes than they have allowed their opponents to make.

As a result, Memphis simply needs to continue what has worked. There should be ample opportunity to find good looks from beyond the arc, and many Grizzlies should take the shots without hesitation. If Dillon Brooks and the reserves can get off to another strong start from three, this could be another big win for Memphis.

Stay Disciplined

For the Grizzlies to get their seventh win of the season, they simply need to play their style of basketball. However, this could be a game where Memphis could find difficulty if they struggle to execute. For one, Beal and Porzingis are more than capable of going for 50 to 60 combined points. Fortunately, as time as progressed under Taylor Jenkins, the Grizzlies have done better limiting the success of Beal and Porzingis each time they played them. This includes Beal making only three of his 22 three point attempts combined over the last five times he has played Memphis. If the Grizzlies can continue improving on defense, they can get out to another big lead early.

Of course, the other aspects in which Memphis needs to stay disciplined is not committing their own errors. The Wizards are in the bottom five of the NBA in turnovers forced and fouls committed. Washington will make mistakes and is not very strong at forcing their opponents into mistakes. As a result, if Memphis can take care of the ball, they should find the looks they need to achieve success early and often.

Of course, along with limiting Beal and Porzingis, another big key for Memphis is not allowing Kuzma or any other Wizards to have a big game. Morant and Bane will likely be ready to put on some big performances tonight, so if the Grizzlies defense is focused early, the Grizzlies could find themselves ahead by a significant margin early in the game. The end result could be another sizeable victory for Memphis before the schedule gets a bit tougher over the next few weeks.

Final Score- Grizzlies 123, Wizards 110

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