Denver at Memphis
Time: 7 PM CST (NBA LP)
Spread: MEM -1
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Memphis Grizzlies are 13-13 SU at home this season where it hosts the Denver Nuggets in NBA action on NBA League Pass Tuesday night. The Grizzlies are 1-point favorites in the affair, and the over/under is set at 224 points according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.
DEN NEWS & NOTES:
The Denver Nuggets are playing better, and as one would guess it mostly relates to a turnaround on the part of its star center Nikola Jokic.
Some have criticized Jokic for his poor conditioning, but it is hard to ignore the fact that he continues to play good basketball overall while using his immense skills to more than make up for his slow feet. Jokic is averaging 19.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and a team-leading 6.4 assists per game while posting a PER of 24.80. He also recently posted a 47-point game, so while Jokic may never appear to do anything too quickly, he does make the right moves and can be a dominant center in an era that does not even favor big men.
The Nuggets are led in scoring by Jamal Murray, who many expected to make a still-bigger leap following his outstanding postseason performances in 2019.
Instead, Murray is the second-leading at 17.6 points per game, and ranking No. 2 in assists at 4.6 per. Will Barton continues to look like a poor man’s Kevin Durant, providing a lot of shooting on the wing and a fearless trigger. Barton averages 14.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game and is one of five Nuggets with a PER above the league average of 15 (17.17).
The Nuggets are a deep team on paper, but it is still really not testing out the talents of Michael Porter Jr that much, and Malik Beasley has seen his role decline this season as well. Gary Harris and Barton both see over 32 minutes per game, leaving the backups to fight over the remaining minutes, leaving some good talents to sit, naturally. Juancho Hernangomez has had his role decline, though he still averages four points per game in just 13 minutes a night. Michael Porter Jr. led the Nuggets in scoring last game with 19 points, and if he is able to come on strong and stay healthy, Denver could be “scary good.”
The Nuggets will eventually likely decided on a shorter rotation, but for the time being there are 11 Nuggets who play at least 14 minutes per game. It is a team loaded with talent, but both of its top scoring options are probably not true No. 1 options on a contending team, and that includes Jokic. The Nuggets have great team chemistry, but one wonders if its lack of true star power might not hurt it. While Nikola Jokic and Murray function quite well as a tandem, it seems Denver would be better delegating more responsibility to one or the other, to develop a true 1A option, especially late in games.
MEMPHIS news & notes:
The Memphis Grizzlies have snuck into the playoff picture after surging to improve to 22-24 on the season.
In a year that was considered a rebuilding or tanking effort, Memphis has done anything but. The young Grizz are competing and winning games.
Memphis is led by a first-year point guard in Ja Morant and second-year forward Jaren Jackson Jr. Jackson leads the team in scoring at 18.1 points per game while coming up with 4.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 2.0 steals/blocks in just 28 minutes a game. Ja Morant is seeing 29.5 minutes per game and averaging 17.8 points, 6.9 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. Morant is shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 39 percent from three on 2.3 attempts per game. Jackson is shooting nearly 42 percent from three on 6.4 attempts per game. Memphis attempts 32.8 threes per game and connects on 36 percent as a team.
The Grizzlies average the 8th-most points in the league at 113.4 per game. However, Memphis also has a bottom-five defense that allows 116.1 per game. Interestingly, the Grizzlies lead the league in assists per game with 27.9 per contest as a team. Between that chemistry and an improving defense, the Grizzlies may have a chance to stay in the top-8 and make the postseason in a year few considered it possible.