The Memphis Grizzlies are in Denver for the seventh and final game of a seven-game road trip on Monday night at Ball Arena. The Grizzlies are feeling confident after a two-game sweep in Portland against the Trail Blazers on Friday and yesterday. In the first contest, the Grizzlies edged out the Blazers in an entertaining 130-128 game. Ja Morant went off for 33 points and 13 assists to lead the Grizzlies on the floor.
Instead of a letdown on Sunday, the Grizzlies beat the Blazers soundly by a score of 120-113. Morant had another big night, as he poured in 28 more points to lead Memphis in scoring. Jonas Valanciunas, who made his return to the floor after a concussion, was effective as well with 21 points and 10 boards to record a double-double.
The Grizzlies will face a step up in class against the Denver Nuggets on Monday night. They’re on a back-to-back, so hopefully the momentum carries over the next day. Memphis will be assigned with having to slow down MVP favorite Nikola Jokic. Jokic and the Nuggets are coming off a 129-116 win against the Houston Rockets on Friday night.
They could have won by even more, but the rookies and youngsters finished off the last 5 minutes of the game for the Rockets. The Nuggets were up more than 20 points with just over 2 minutes on the clock. With the Nuggets emptying the bench, the Rockets were able to make the final score a little more respectable.
The Nuggets head into tonight with a record of 39-21, as they continue to trail behind the top-3 teams in the West. Denver is three games behind the Clippers and Suns, and face a five-game deficit for the lead in the conference behind the Utah Jazz. I’d feel a lot more confident in the Nuggets if they had a healthy Jamal Murray. Put him on the floor with Aaron Gordon and Jokic, and the Nuggets have a formidable combo. Murray is done for the season with a torn ACL, though.
Memphis looks dead set on going to the playoffs, but this team is still incredibly inconsistent and would likely fizzle out. They’re going in the right direction with Morant leading the ship. However, the Grizzlies will continue to go up and down as a young team. The average age of the Grizz roster is only 23.8 years old. They feel confident about the future in Memphis. A playoff berth to gain some experience would be a positive. They’d currently be going to the play-in game with the eighth seed at 31-28. Head below for our free Grizzlies vs. Nuggets pick on April 26, 2021.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Denver Nuggets NBA Betting Odds:
Grizzlies vs. Nuggets Prediction:
The matchup of this game is going to come down to Jonas Valaciunas and Nikola Jokic. JV is going to need a big effort to contain a rested Jokic. The Grizzlies are coming off a back-to-back, and JV just returned to the floor after sitting out with an injury. I’m not so confident that JV is going to be up to the task to contain Jokic. He’s a difficult body to cover because he can play inside or go outside as a shooter. Jokic is averaging 26.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, while shooting a whopping 56.8% from the field.
The Nuggets are fourth in the NBA with 115.5 points per game. Thanks to Jokic, their field goal percentage is incredibly efficient at 48.8%. That’s good for second in the league. The Nuggets are also capable of shooting from three, with a three point percentage of 38.3%. Free throws? They’re pretty good at the freebies as well, with a free throw percentage of 79.4%. All of their offensive numbers are in the top-10 in the league.
The difference in this game is going to come down to the Grizzlies’ offensive rebounding, which they’re strong at, but the Nuggets are good at cleaning up the defensive boards. The Grizzlies are fourth in the league in offensive rebounding. However, the Nuggets counter with the second best defensive rebounding unit in the league. This battle is going to be interesting down low. The Memphis offense has been on fire as of late with 124 points scored in their last five games.
Morant has been heating up and defenses haven’t had an answer. However, the defense has conceded 122.4 points per game, so they’ve had to get into some high-scoring contests. Scoring has not been a problem for the Grizz on the road, as they’ve notched 118.1 points per game in 2021. Teams are shooting 47% from the field against the Nuggets, while the Grizzlies are 12th in the league with a field goal percentage of 47%. I think we see an entertaining game here that goes OVER the total at Ball Arena in Denver.