Preview: Denver Nuggets host Memphis Grizzlies
The Denver Nuggets have certainly put on quite a few shows for the Ball Arena during this six-game home season.
The latest performance was a 15-point comeback against the LA Clippers that saw Aaron Gordon hit a game-winning 3-pointer with less than two seconds left in overtime. Of course, one can’t mention this game without highlighting Nikola Jokić’s dominant triple-double of 49 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Although Denver’s offense went through a couple of dry spells on Wednesday night, the Mile High team pulled in at just the right time to claim the win.
However, Denver (23-20) will need a fuller performance Friday night when the Memphis Grizzlies visit the Ball Arena.
Memphis (31-16) has been one of the main upset teams this season, with a top 10 in offense and defense fueling the league’s third-best record. Ja Morant continued his ascent, while the Grizzlies offer quality depth and almost any position to withstand the grind of a regular season.
Memphis won the first two meetings between the two teams in early November.
JAMAL MURRAY – RECOVERY FROM A LEFT KNEE INJURY. OUTSIDE.
MICHAEL PORTER JR. – LUMBAR SPINE SURGERY. OUTSIDE.
VLATKO CANCAR – RIGHT FOOT SURGERY. OUTSIDE.
JAMYCHAL GREEN – HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTOCOLS. OUTSIDE.
TO AGREE: 7 p.m. MT, Altitude TV and 92.5 FM
What does Jokić have in store for a recall?
Wednesday’s match was a showcase for the immense value Jokić brings to the table every night. The Serb’s 49 points came from all areas of the floor, including three 3-pointers and 14 free throws.
LA resorted to double teams and traps throughout Wednesday’s game, which simply allowed the reigning MVP to do what he does best: separate a defense with his passing. 10 by Jokicand the assist was one of the best assists of the season, a penny cross (while being double-teamed) to Gordon for the three winners.
Now Jokić will be looking to follow up on his best performance of the season against Memphis, who have several quality frontline options to launch. In the first two meetings of the season, Jokić averaged 28.5 points per game on 57.1% shooting from the field.
Keep Memphis out of the offensive glass
The Grizzlies have been an elite team at both ends of the court this season, with their offense slightly ahead of the defense to fuel their productivity.
Memphis owns the eighth-ranked offense by Cleaning the Glass, with a dominant offensive rebound playing a key role in that success. On the season, the Grizzlies rank second in offensive rebound percentage at 31.2%.
Friday’s game will pit one of the best offensive rebounding teams in Memphis against one of the best defensive rebounding teams in Denver. The Nuggets rank second in opponent offensive rebound percentage on the season, having been very effective at limiting second-chance opportunities.
What will Forbes add to the Nuggets?
Another intriguing wrinkle from Friday’s game is that Denver’s newest acquisition is set to make its debut at Mile High. Following a trade on Wednesday, Bryn Forbes should be available for the Nuggets against the Grizzlies, which instantly injects a new level of 3-point shooting into Denver’s rotation.
Forbes has connected 41.7% of his attempts from downtown this season and projects to be Denver’s top threat from beyond the arc when he arrives in Denver. For a Nuggets team that’s had a bumpy shooting season (Denver connected on 34.2% of its 3-point attempts Wednesday night, just around the team’s season average), Forbes should be a key boost for the Nuggets. offense.