WHEN: 6:30 P.M. CT
WHERE: State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia
HOW TO WATCH/LISTEN: NBA TV/Bally Sports Southeast/92.9 FM ESPN Memphis
BETTING INFORMATION (per DraftKings) - Memphis -4.5
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant (Questionable, back soreness)
Atlanta: Danilo Gallinari (Questionable, right biceps contusion), Trae Young (Questionable, left quad contusion), John Collins (OUT, Right ring finger sprain/right foot sprain)
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS:
MEMPHIS: Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr., Steven Adams
Atlanta: Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, De’Andre Hunter, Danilo Gallinari, Clint Capela
Eight minutes into the Grizzlies last matchup with the Atlanta Hawks, Ja Morant went down with a knee sprain at FedExForum back on November 26th. The Grizzlies lost that matchup by 32 points and were battling to stay at .500 on the season. Flash ahead to tonight’s matchup and it’s crazy how the Grizzlies have grown, and how the Hawks have struggled since then.
It is the roller coaster that comes with an NBA season. For the Grizzlies this will be another opportunity to continue their push towards a franchise record season. For the Hawks, their battle to participate in the Eastern Conference Play-in tournament continues with 12 games remaining.
The Grizzlies, from a statistical and record side of things, are the far more superior team heading into tonight’s matchup. How does Memphis push their winning streak to five games?
Don’t Allow the Hawks to get hot offensively
The Atlanta Hawks have the second highest offensive net rating in the NBA this season. Something that the Hawks are really good at that the Grizzlies struggle at is their half-court offensive production. The Hawks are second most efficient team in half-court offense in the NBA, per Cleaning the Glass.
However, the Grizzlies have the 7th best defense in the NBA in those half-court situations per Cleaning the Glass. Something that will hamper the Hawks production tonight will be their opportunity for second chance points. The Hawks ranked 23rd in the NBA in second chance points coming in to tonight. Don’t allow the Hawks to get hot in their half-court sets, and the Grizzlies win their fifth straight game tonight.
Force Hawks turnovers:
One thing that the Hawks are surprisingly efficient at is limiting their turnovers each night. They lead the NBA this season only turning the ball over 11.9 times a game, and since March 1st they only have turnovers about nine times a game.
If you watch the Grizzlies, you know that is their bread and butter. It’s also how the Grizzlies live on the scoreboard - getting stops/turnovers and pushing in transition. The Grizzlies lead the NBA in transition points this season along with leading the NBA in steals this season. If Memphis can get the Hawks to turn the ball over, I like their chances at racking up another road victory.
Since the Ja Morant and Trae Young era with their respective franchises, each matchup hasn’t really been close between the two clubs. In their last six matchups between Atlanta and Memphis, only two of them have had a single digit point difference.
The Grizzlies got their teeth kicked in back on November 26th at home by Atlanta. I expect not only better effort, but that effort for 48 minutes as they continue to gear up for a playoff run.
Memphis 123, Atlanta 105