Tuesday, January 25 2022

The Denver Nuggets continue their road trip at the FedEx Forum as they clash with the Memphis Grizzlies in the second game of a two-game set between the Western Conference rivals.

These two teams met on Monday night in Memphis, with the Grizzlies coming away with a 106-97 victory. The Nuggets (4-3) are off to a rocky start, sitting sixth in the West led by defending MVP Nikola Jokic. The Grizzlies (4-3) and 2nd-year phenom Ja Morant are riding high after a dominant performance at home.

Will the jumpstart Grizzlies knock off the Nuggets for the second game in a row on Wednesday?

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies Betting Lines

All of the game lines that are featured below are taken from BetUS.

Point Spread: Memphis Grizzlies -1.5

Money Line: MEM -110/ DEN +110

Total: OVER/UNDER 213.5

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies News

The Nuggets have been heavily dependant on their do-it-all big man through the early parts of the year as Jamal Murray recovers from ACL surgery this offseason. He’s averaging 24 points a game and an impressive 13.7 rebounds, but durability will be a concern if he continues logging heavy minutes and banging in the paint. Denver is hanging tough in the West at 4-3, but Murray remains without a timetable.

Ja Morant got his 1,000th career assist with his first of the game early in the first quarter of Monday night’s contest. He’s been explosive out the gate this season and looks primed to be in the MVP conversation alongside Jokic at the end of the year. 

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies Injury Report

Ja Morant was added to the injury report Monday afternoon with a sore right elbow but started. He got through his pregame routine without any issue and played 35 minutes, so he should see his usual minutes tonight. Dillon Brooks remains sidelined until at least next week with an injured hand. 

The Nuggets are still without the aforementioned Jamal Murray without a definitive return date. 2nd year forward Vlatko Cancar remains questionable with a hip injury. Aaron Gordon left Monday’s game in the third quarter with a right eye injury but returned. Expect to see him out there. 

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies Preview

Nuggets Struggling With Long-Ball Early On

Nikola Jokic put up 23 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, four blocks, and two triples in Monday’s loss to Memphis. Denver allowed an opponent to reach 100 points for only the second time this season. The only other team to pass the century mark was Utah in a 122-110 Jazz victory. 

There’s no doubt the Nuggets’ game depends heavily on Jokic, no matter how coach Michael Malone mixes his lineup with starters and reserves. Aaron Gordon, who added 15 points and 10 rebounds, will be asked to carry more of an offensive load as Murray recovers. Denver’s major problems came from outside the arc where it went 9 of 38. They are shooting a paltry 30% from deep on the year, which is unacceptable with an interior force like Jokic commanding so much attention inside. 

Ja Morant Showing Flashes of Brilliance for Memphis

Ja Morant had 26 points, eight assists and seven rebounds and Tyus Jones added 17 points off the bench in their victory on Monday. Xavier Tillman had 12 points, while Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. finished with 11 each as Memphis snapped a three-game losing streak to the Nuggets. Jones and Tillman were part of a Grizzlies bench that outscored Nuggets reserves 43-34 and kept Memphis in front most of the way. The Grizz never trailed by more than two points.

Morant has averaged a whopping 28.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.7 dimes through the first seven games of the season. While still early, the 2nd year guard is showing why the Grizzlies drafted him second overall and making a claim for MVP through two weeks. The Grizz are assisting on 60.3% of their buckets, with Tyus Jones providing a solid stop-gap for the second unit. 

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies Betting Picks

Denver coach Mike Malone pointed out before the game how poorly the Nuggets have played without Jokic on the court this season, and the stats back it up in a big way. Coming into Monday’s game, the Nuggets were +80 in Jokic’s 180 minutes and were a -53 in the 108 minutes he’s been on the bench. The big man logged 33 minutes on Monday and limited himself to two fouls, but look for Memphis to try and get him in foul trouble early on by forcing him to cover Jaren Jackson Jr. outside of the paint. The Grizz are second in the NBA in rebounding percentage, so they’ll be able to limit Nikola’s elite second chance opportunities at the rim. Morant’s leap this season has been incredible and he’s going to blow away whoever Denver tries to throw at him in this one, especially if it’s Monte Morris again. The Grizzlies are 5-2 against the spread through seven games. Look for that trend to continue as they knock off Denver again and cover the number. 

Denver Nuggets vs Memphis Grizzlies Prediction

The Grizzlies are averaging 111.2 points per game this season, good for ninth in the NBA. Their pace (17th) suggests that number is a bit inflated, but that may be due to Ja Morant shooting the ball at a torrid pace through seven games. The Nuggets allowed an opponent to reach 100 points for only the second time this season. The only other team to pass the century mark was Utah in a 122-110 Jazz victory. These teams typically play hard-nosed, grind-it-out type games which is not surprising considering how many times they meet year-to-year. The total number has gone under in six of their last seven meetings dating back to last season, and seven of eight at the FedEx Forum. Look for Denver’s 3-point shooting woes to continue as this game goes well under the projected total. Throw out the 213.5 number and take this game to stay under 205 at a juicy odd.  

Source: Basketball Insider

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