After a clutch road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday, the Denver Nuggets will turn their attention to the next-best team in the Western Conference: Memphis. Meanwhile, the Grizzlies will try to improve their home record to 25-5 on the season and close the gap on Denver.
Our betting picks and predictions are listed here, including the current odds, and an analysis of the game. Also, the projected starting lineups and applicable injury news are available below.
Denver Nuggets Vs. Memphis Grizzlies Betting Odds
Memphis is a narrow two-point home favorite against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. The Grizzlies won’t have Steven Adams, who is still recovering from a knee injury, while Denver will again be without Zeke Nnaji, Collin Gillespie, and Aaron Gordon.
Denver Nuggets Vs. Memphis Grizzlies Prediction
Since their impressive 11-game winning streak that ranged from December 29th to January 18th, the Memphis Grizzlies have not looked like the same basketball team, going 4-10 and dropping eight-straight road games.
The common denominator in most of these games has been the absence of Steven Adams, the league’s best offensive rebounder, screen setter, and interior space creator; Memphis is 4-8 in its last 12 games without Adams.
Unfortunately, Adams remains out for this game, and despite a solid team defense behind Jaren Jackson Jr’s (likely) Defensive Player of the Year campaign, Memphis has still struggled. Most of its issues can be traced back to the offensive end of the floor, particularly shooting the ball from deep.
As a matter of fact, since the Grizzlies’ losing streak began, they have merely shot 31% from three. Three-point shooting has been a lingering issue for Memphis all season long and, hopefully, the acquisition of Luke Kennard, a 45% three-point shooter in his past three seasons, can alleviate this. He will be available for this matchup!
On the other hand, Denver has shown no signs of slowing down, winning its first game after the All-Star break on the road against Cleveland.
The Nuggets have a comfortable six-game lead over Memphis in the Western Conference, and a win tonight would make the gap nearly insurmountable barring any insane cold streaks or freak injuries for Denver.
Denver’s combination of three-point shooting (first in the NBA at 39.4%), overall shooting percentage (first in the NBA at 58.2%), rebounding (fifth in total rebounding percentage), and a vastly-improved defense (13th in defensive rating) has given it a case for the best team in the NBA.
Still, Aaron Gordon’s presence will be missed in this game, and if it weren’t for an uncharacteristically poor shooting night from deep by Cleveland on Thursday, Denver likely would have lost its last game.
The Nuggets are 7-4 without Gordon this season, and their frontcourt depth is not spectacular, despite bringing in Thomas Bryant from the Lakers. I like Memphis to get the win in this spot, but it will be tight until the end.
- Denver is 13-16 ATS on the road in 2022-23
- Memphis is 17-11-1 ATS at home in 2022-23
- The combined over record of these two teams is 55-61-2 in 2022-23
It should go without saying, but the key matchup in this game will be between the likely DPOY favorite, Jaren Jackson Jr, and the frontrunner for MVP, Nikola Jokic. See if Jackson can slow Jokic down and help Memphis get a win, or if Jokic will continue his exceptional play on the road.
Nikola Jokic vs. Jaren Jackson Jr
It has been another dominant season for Nikola Jokic, who will probably be the recipient of his third-straight MVP; he will be the first player to accomplish this feat since Larry Bird in the mid-1980s.
Meanwhile, Jaren Jackson Jr has averaged 3.3 blocks per game this season, flashing incredible defensive timing and IQ, while using his athleticism and length to disrupt offensive players. He could wind up being considered a generational defender by the end of his career.
While these two players won’t spend the majority of the game matched up, they will still find each other throughout, especially with Jokic relying heavily on paint production to put up points. Jackson will fly over from the weakside often to try and contest “Joker” on shot attempts.
As he does against most teams, Jokic has consistently given the Grizzlies problems; he has averaged roughly 26 points, 12 rebounds, and nine assists in his past five games against Memphis.
In each of those games, the Grizzlies had Steven Adams to defend Jokic. Adams is a strong and capable center, yet Jokic still posted a shooting split of 61/42/85 during that stretch.
Now, Jokic will have Xavier Tillman defending him, a 6-foot-7 big man who does not boast the size of Adams. Nikola should be in for a massive game. Advantage: Jokic.
Denver Nuggets Starting Lineup
Memphis Grizzlies Starting Lineups
Denver Nuggets Injuries: Aaron Gordon (Out), Collin Gillespie (Out), Zeke Nnaji (Out)
Memphis Grizzlies Injuries: Steven Adams (Out)